Mayo Clinic scientists have stumbled on a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
They were testing the effects of inflammation on amyloid plaques that build up in the brain and prompt AD symptoms.
They thought that using a protein to activate brain immune cells in mice would cause inflammation and increase plaque buildup. They got the first part right. But instead of increasing plaque, increased inflammation actually cleared plaque away.
Further investigation showed that the inflammation prompted immune cells to create specific proteins that got rid of the plaque.
And the next step – from mice to men – may not be as large as you might think. One doctor told Science Daily: “This model is as close to human pathology as animal models get.”
You can be sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about this technique if scientists can recreate the same effect in human brains.
“Scientists Remove Amyloid Plaques From Brains of Live Animals With Alzheimer’s Disease” Science Daily, 10/16/09, sciencedaily.com