Astrocyte Findings Suggest New Options Against Alzheimer’s

The pace of research into Alzheimer’s Disease and other cognitive disorders is accelerating as the population ages and more people are stricken by them. Dementia is still not clearly understood on a medical level. One of the hopes of ongoing research is to be able to find biological causes that can be treated to produce a cure.

A new study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine offers one more step toward that goal. The brains of mice were studied to see the effects of a certain neurological receptor. Astrocytes are structures in the brain that is organized into a network of neural cells. One of the functions of astrocytes is to help maintain neuron health. Alzheimer’s patients are known to have disruption in these networks, often hyperactive disruption.

The new research blocked astrocyte function in mice improved memory and produced a more normal level of brain function. The mice being studied have a genetic flaw that creates similar effects to human Alzheimer’s patients. Researchers targeted a receptor that is essential to astrocyte function. When the receptor was blocked over a long period of time, the scientists found the neurological activity of the mice became normal despite their genetic predilection toward cognitive disorder. Further, control mice that did not have cognitive impairment were not harmed by the astrocyte blockage; indicating the treatment does not affect normal brain function.

Key Points:

  • 1Alzheimer’s is still very misunderstood and is an incurable brain disease that leads to dementia.
  • 2Researchers are testing on mice’s cell membrane receptors to try to normalize their brain activity.
  • 3Astrocytes may be the key to unlocking a cure for Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable brain disorder leading to dementia. its mechanisms remain incompletely understood.

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