Mechanism behind Alzheimer's-related memory loss identified
Researchers have claimed to have identified a protein in the brain that plays a critical role in the memory loss seen in Alzheimer's patients.
The protein - Neuroligin-1 (NLGN1) - is known to be involved in memory formation; this is the first time it's been linked to amyloid-associated memory loss.
In Alzheimer's disease, amyloid beta proteins accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and induce inflammation.
This inflammation leads to certain gene modifications that interrupt the functioning of synapses in the brain, leading to memory loss.
Using animal models, Cleveland Clinic researchers discovered that during this neuroinflammatory process, the epigenetic modification of NLGN1 disrupts the synaptic network in the brain, which is responsible for developing and maintaining memories. Destroying this network can lead to the type of memory loss seen in Alzheimer's patients.
The study has been published online in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
(Posted on 20-01-2014)