A new study from researchers at Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital demonstrates that memory pathology in older test mice diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can actually be reversed with proper treatment.
Published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation, the study finds that blocking a designated receptor in the brains of mice with advanced Alzheimer’s successfully recovers both cerebrovascular function and memory.
"The exciting and important aspect of this study is that even animals with advanced pathology can be rescued with this molecule" says Dr. Edith Hamel, lead investigator along with Dr Réjean Couture. "We have rarely seen this type of reversal of AD symptoms before in our mouse model at this advanced age - when mice have been developing AD for one year."
The research team discovered amplified measurements of the receptor, involved in inflammation, labeled as bradykinin B1 receptor (B1R for short) in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
"By administering a molecule that selectively blocks the action of this receptor, we observed important improvements in both cognitive and cerebrovascular function," commented Dr. Baptiste Lacoste. "Alzheimer's disease destroys nerve cells and also compromises the function of blood vessels in the brain. Not only were there improvements in learning and memory, but also marked recovery in blood flow and vascular reactivity, i.e. the ability of cerebral vessels to dilate or constrict when necessary."
The proper function of blood vessels in the brain is crucial to providing and producing nourishment and oxygen to nerve cells. "Another interesting result that has not been seen before in our mouse model is a reduction by over 50% of toxic amyloid-beta peptide," shared Dr. Hamel. "In Alzheimer's disease, protein fragments called amyloid-beta have a deleterious effect on the blood and nervous systems. Normally, these protein fragments are broken down and removed. In Alzheimer's disease, the protein fragments clump together - a factor believed to contribute to neuronal and vascular dysfunction. We are not sure if these decreases contribute to the functional recovery, but we hope that our findings will aid in clarifying this issue and identifying new targets for therapeutic approaches." These potential therapies in addition to regular monitoring and utilizing Alzheimer's disease support groups open up countless possibilities for those and their loved ones struggling with memory loss.