Monday, 24 January 2022 10:33

Patient study: Alzheimer's aggregates develop in different parts of the brain Featured

An international team of researchers led by the University of Cambridge has discovered new findings on the development of Alzheimer's disease in a patient study.

For their research, the scientists relied on postmortem brain samples from Alzheimer's patients on the one hand, and PET scans of living patients suffering from various stages ranging from mild cognitive impairment to full-blown Alzheimer's on the other, to track the aggregation of tau - one of the two key proteins associated with the disease.

Using a mathematical model, the researchers then determined that the mechanism controlling the progression of Alzheimer's disease is the proliferation of aggregates in individual brain regions, rather than the spread of aggregates from one region to another.

Accordingly, Alzheimer's disease does not start from a single point in the brain and sets off a chain reaction that leads to the death of brain cells, as previously thought. In contrast, the disease reaches different regions of the brain early. How quickly the disease kills cells in these regions by producing toxic protein clusters determines how quickly the disease progresses overall.

Meisl G, Hidari E, Allinson K, Rittman T, DeVos SL, Sanchez JS, Xu CK, Duff KE, Johnson KA, Rowe JB, Hyman BT, Knowles TPJ, Klenerman D. In vivo rate-determining steps of tau seed accumulation in Alzheimer's disease. Sci Adv. 2021 Oct 29;7(44):eabh1448. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abh1448. Epub 2021 Oct 29. PMID: 34714685; PMCID: PMC8555892.