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Fundamental research

10 - 10 - 2017

Alzheimer's disease: double sided immunity

Mouse trials have shown that the immune cells of the brain can successively help avoid or cause Alzheimer's disease.

 

Immune cells can eliminate beta amyloid proteins plaques in the brain that accumulate and can cause the occurrence of toxic tau protein clusters, thus protecting the brain.

 

Researchers have investigated the action of immune cells on tau protein clusters. They used a mouse model with a toxic human tau protein. At nine months, the brain areas responsible for memory are very small in these animals.

 

However, this damage is much less pronounced when the immune cells are inactivated.

 

 

It appears that immune cells kill neurons that carry clusters of tau proteins, resulting in the destruction of areas of the brain and the development of Alzheimer's disease.

 

The same immune cells that protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease by eliminating amyloid beta proteins, also cause the disease by killing neurons carrying tau protein clusters.

 

This discovery, if confirmed in the patient, will have important consequences for the therapy of this disease.