Researchers at the RIKEN Centre for brain science has managed to identify a connection between the two most destructive agents in Alzheimer’s disease.
Amyloid plaques and Tau Pathology are the two main culprits of the disease, and their interaction causes the death of brain cells as well as dementia. Researchers at RIKEN CBS have found a link between the two which could help in limiting the progression of the disease.
The linking protein discovered
CAPON, the protein that binds amyloid plaques to Tau Pathology has been identified. The researchers used a mouse model to conduct the study. They found that the concentration of the protein was high in the hippocampus of the mouse suffering from AD.
The researchers also inserted the DNA for the protein in the brain of another mouse model. As a result, there was an overexpression for the protein, which led to significant neurodegeneration and shrinkage of the hippocampus area. It should be noted that hippocampus is the most important memory center in the brain, and damage to this area can lead to dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
The second experiment
The team also hypothesized that reduction in the levels of this protein could reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s. They tested the hypothesis by reducing the protein levels in another mouse who had increased Tau Pathology. As a result, they saw less neurodegeneration and decreased brain atrophy.
Lead author Shoko Hashimoto said that they think that CAPON is very important as it acts as a mediator between the amyloid cells, Tau, and cell death. If they manage to find a break in this link, it may lead to a promising cure for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.