Inflammation drives progression of Alzheimer's
Pain & Central Nervous System Week
Alzheimer's disease is a devastating neurodegenerative condition ultimately leading to dementia. An effective treatment does not yet exist. The disease is associated with the aberrant aggregation of small proteins called "Amyloid-beta" (Abeta) that accumulate in the brain and appear to harm neurons. In recent years, studies revealed that deposits of Abeta, known as "plaques", trigger inflammatory mechanisms by the brain's innate immune system. However, the precise processes that lead to neurodegeneration and progression of pathology have thus far not been fully understood.
"Deposition and spreading of Abeta pathology likely precede the appearance of clinical symptoms such as memory problems by decades. Therefore, a better understanding of these processes might be a key for novel therapeutic approaches. Such treatments would target Alzheimer's at an early stage, before cognitive deficits manifest," says Prof.
An Inflammatory Cascade
Connection between Inflammation and Neurodegeneration
In the current study, it was demonstrated that ASC specks are also released from activated immune cells in the brain, the "microglia". Moreover, the findings provide a direct molecular link to classical hallmarks of neurodegeneration. "We found that ASC specks bind to Abeta in the extracellular space and promote aggregation of Abeta, thus directly linking innate immune activation with the progression of pathology," Heneka says.
Novel Approach for Therapy?
This view is supported by a series of experiments in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease. In these, the researchers investigated the effects of ASC specks and its component, the ACS protein, on the spreading of Abeta deposits in the brain.
"Additionally, analysis of human brain material indicates at several levels that inflammation and Abeta pathology may interact in a similar fashion in humans. Together our findings suggest that brain inflammation is not just a bystander phenomenon, but a strong contributor to disease progression," Heneka says. "Therefore, targeting this immune response will be a novel treatment modality for Alzheimer's."
Keywords for this news article include: Dementia, Neurology, Pathology, Tauopathies, Inflammation, Neurodegeneration, Health and Medicine, Brain Diseases and Conditions, Central Nervous System Diseases and Conditions, DZNE -
Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2018, NewsRx LLC