Chinese and American scientists reported in the journal Neuron how a receptor of immune cells in the brain helps to prevent or reduce the severity of Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects 47 million people worldwide.
The study, led by Xu Huaxi, a neurologist at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, showed that the TREM2 receptor can interact with toxic amyloid beta proteins to restore neurological functions.
Xu said that the TREM2 can be linked specifically to the oligomers of beta amyloids, the main component of plaques found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. An increasing level of TREM2 causes the immune cell microglia to respond and reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
Microglia is a neuron that can devour beta amyloids. However, without the TREM2 microglia are linked less successfully to eliminate amyloid beta. In addition, removing the TREM2 reduces the microglial potassium ion channels, which hinders the electrical currents associated with the activation of these immune cells.
The researchers found that adding TREM2 showed that it stops the progression of the disease and even restores cognitive function.
"Going for microglia, instead of generating beta amyloids, could be the new field of Alzheimer's disease research," said Xu.
Researchers from Fujian Medical University, Xiamen University, the University of Texas and the University of California-Los Angeles participated in the study.
Source: Al Dia. Infomed
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