“We open doors to new paths”

Study shows changes that the disease causes in the blood vessels of the brain. It could be a turning point in the search for an effective treatment.

“So far, more than 500 drugs were tested as a cure for the disease of Alzheimer. They all target the nerves of the brain and none of them were successful”.

The description is by Adam Greenstein, principal investigator on a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The professor at the University of Manchester led this study, carried out by researchers from that English university and funded by the British Heart Foundation, and it focused not on the nerves of the brain, but on the changes caused by Alzheimer’s brain blood vessels.

The portal Interesting Engineering points out that this new discovery may lead to the development of medicines that stop Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease continues to give rise to numerous investigations over the last few decades.

The first known case of the disease was discovered more than a century ago, in 1906 (by a psychiatrist named Alois Alzheimer), but there is still no completely reliable and effective treatment for patients.

O blood supply to the brain is affected, in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Memory weakens, among other reasons, because the small arteries that cover the surface of the brain become smaller, narrower. It is these arteries that control blood and oxygen to the brain; shrink, the brain does not “feed” itself as it should. And memory loss is a consequence.

And in this Manchester investigation, experts found that a smaller version of the protein called Amyloid-β 1-40 (Aβ1-40) accumulates in the walls of small arteries and decreases blood flow to the brain.

Through studies in mice, they found that older mice with Alzheimer’s produced an excessive amount of Aβ1-40 and their arteries were narrower than the arteries of healthy mice.

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In addition, the study showed that the protein BKwhich normally transmits a signal to widen the arteries, is disabled by Aβ 1-40 protein in cells lining blood vessels.

“By showing exactly how Alzheimer’s disease affects small blood vessels, we open doors to new avenues of research to find an effective treatment“, believes Adam Greenstein.

The next step of this research team is to try to understand which part of Aβ 1-40 blocks BK. The objective is, from there, to develop drugs to stop this process.

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