Researchers led by Eicke Latz, MD, of the University of Bonn in Germany are reporting in the journal Nature that there may be a way to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by inhibiting the activity of a protein complex known as NLRP3.
This particular protein complex has been understood initially through its role in inflammation in the body. Whether it had any role in the progression or pathology of Alzheimer's disease wasn't clear to researchers, but this recent study appears to clarify the fact that it has a role—and an important one at that.
In order to reach this conclusion, researchers bred mice that had a murine (mouse-based) form of Alzheimer's disease with ones that did not have the elements of the NLRP3 protein complex. The offspring mice appeared to be guarded against the characteristics of Alzheimer's—including the loss of spatial and object recognition memory—as they got older.
These offspring also had reduced inflammation levels in their brains, as well as reduced levels of the protein most associated with Alzheimer's—amyloid beta.
This led the researchers to conclude that there is potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease in a therapy that targets the NLRP3 protein complex by inhibiting its activity.
Source: MedPage Today