Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a new way to prevent the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. The new discovery shows a “significant reduction” in neurodegeneration.
The exciting achievement came after researchers were able to target an enzyme normally found overactive in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
When scientists treated mice with a peptide (or chain of amino acids) that inhibits an overactive version of the CDK5 enzyme, they found a significant reduction in neurodegeneration and DNA damage in the brain.
“This peptide has the ability to enter the brain, and in two different models, the peptide shows a protective effect against neuronal loss and also appears to be able to repair some behavioral defects,” said study author Li Hui Tsai, director of the MIT Beckwer Institute. . for learning and memory.
It is hoped that with further testing, this particular peptide could be a treatment for dementia, especially dementia caused by CDK5 hyperactivity.
CDK5 is catalyzed by a smaller protein called p35, which can become harmful to Alzheimer’s patients when it is “cleaved” into a smaller protein known as p25, which is also associated with Parkinson’s disease.
The p25 protein then makes the CDK5 enzyme overactive, according to an MIT report.
The report states: “Pharmaceutical companies have tried to target p25 with small molecule drugs, but these drugs tend to cause side effects because they also affect other cyclin-dependent kinases (an enzyme that modifies other proteins by chemically adding phosphate groups to them) . , so none of them have been tested on patients.”
“When the researchers tested the peptide in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s with overactive CDK5, they saw many beneficial effects, including reduced DNA damage, neuroinflammation, and neuronal loss,” the report says.
The peptide also shows good results in the restoration of the tau protein in the brain, the change of which is becoming a key sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
And the report goes on: “In addition to these effects in the brain, the researchers also noted an improvement in behavior. The researchers injected the peptide and found that it was able to cross the blood-brain barrier and reach neurons in the hippocampus and other parts of the brain.”
Future plans include studying the peptide to test its effects on diabetes-related cognitive impairment, among other neurodegenerative diseases.
Source: New York Post.
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