Neuroscience News logo for mobile.

Blood vessel breakthrough Major step towards Alzheimer’s treatment

Overview: A smaller version of the amyloid beta protein, AB 1-40, builds up on the walls of small arteries and reduces blood flow to the brain, a new study reports.

Source: University of Manchester

A breakthrough in our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease has revealed changes in blood vessels in the brain, potentially providing a path for developing new drugs to help fight the disease, according to research from the University of Manchester released today. published in Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesPNAS

Alzheimer’s disease is traditionally thought of as a disease of the brain cells in which a protein called amyloid-beta (Aβ) builds up and forms plaques. There is growing evidence that blood flow to the brain is also affected, but how this happens is unknown.

Now, researchers at the University of Manchester have found that a smaller version of the protein — called Amyloid-β 1-40 (Aβ 1-40) — builds up in the walls of the small arteries and reduces blood flow to the brain.

The surface of the brain is covered with small arteries called pial arteries, which control the flow of blood and oxygen through the brain. If these arteries become narrowed for too long, the brain cannot get enough nutrients. This is one of the causes of memory loss in people with the disease.

When the team looked at the pial arteries of older Alzheimer’s mice that produced too much Aβ1-40, they found that the arteries were narrower compared to those of healthy mice.

This narrowing turned out to be caused by Aβ 1-40 turning off a protein called BK in cells lining blood vessels. When it works normally, BK sends a signal that causes the arteries to widen.

To confirm that Aβ 1-40 caused BK to malfunction, they soaked healthy pial arteries in Aβ 1-40 and measured the signals sent by the BK protein after one hour. Aβ 1-40 attenuated these signals, causing the arteries to narrow.

This shows a brain
The surface of the brain is covered with small arteries called pial arteries, which control the flow of blood and oxygen through the brain. If these arteries become narrowed for too long, the brain cannot get enough nutrients. Image is in the public domain

The researchers now plan to investigate what proportion of Aβ 1-40 blocks the BK protein so that drugs to stop it can be developed and tested as a much-needed treatment to prevent Alzheimer’s disease from progressing and people suffering from heartache. of losing their memory.

dr. Adam Greenstein, Principal Investigator and Clinical Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Manchester said: “To date, more than 500 drugs have been tested as a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. They all targeted the nerves in the brain and none of them were successful.

Also see

This shows a pill in tweezers

“By showing exactly how Alzheimer’s disease affects small blood vessels, we have opened the door to new avenues of research to find an effective treatment.”

Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation said: “This research is an important step forward in our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. More than half a million people in the UK are living with the condition, and that number will increase as our population ages.

“These findings could lead to much-needed treatment for this devastating condition.”

About this research news on Alzheimer’s disease

Author: press office
Source: University of Manchester
Contact: Press Office – University of Manchester
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original research: The findings appear in PNAS

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.