Stress linked with Alzheimer's diseaseBy Rashmi Kalia
A study conducted by Dr. Todd Golde, University of Florida's director of the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease, and his team reveals that a brain hormone, corticotrophin, released in response to stress also increases the production of protein fragments linked to Alzheimer's disease, Rapid News Network reports.
Those protein pieces, known as amyloid beta, stick together and set off the brain degeneration that leads to Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers said that scientists could gain a better understanding of Alzheimer's by studying the effects of protein plaques on cognition in people suffering from Down syndrome.
During the laboratory study, mouse models that were exposed to stress had more of the Alzheimer's-related protein in their brains than those in a control group, researchers found. The stressed mice also had more of a specific form of amyloid beta that has a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease, Science Newsline reports.
Study leader James Keaney said: "We have shown that distinct components of these blood vessels, termed tight junctions, are altered in Alzheimer's disease".
"These data collectively link CRF to increased beta-amyloid through gamma secretase and provide mechanistic insight into how stress may increase AD [Alzheimer's disease] risk", say the authors.
Earlier studies have suggested that Alzheimer's is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors. This study has shown the link between stress and Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers will now try to identify an antibody that could be used to block the stress hormone directly, Golde said.
Last week, Irish scientists published a revolutionary study on Alzheimer's disease in the journal Science Advantages.