Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects over 44 million people the world over. But now, neurologist Jack Jhamandas and his team have found two short peptides which, on daily injection into mice with symptoms of AD for just five weeks, led to a significant improvement, says News Medical.
Not only did they have better memory, but they showed a reduction in the accumulation of beta-amyloid, the harmful protein that characterizes the condition, and lower levels of the markers of brain inflammation.
Beta-amyloid accumulation may predate the clinical features of AD by 15-25 years. Thus many researchers have tried to reduce amyloid levels either by increasing the rate at which it is removed from the brain or by blocking its formation via enzyme inhibition, but without success.
Many such projects have found brain receptors through which beta-amyloid appears to act, such as p75NTR receptor, or SCARA1/2, but none which block all three routes of brain damage: loss of neurons, inflammation, and vascular damage. The amylin receptor (AMY) appears to fulfil this criterion, being found abundantly on neurons, blood vessels, and inflammatory brain cells called microglia.