the main theory about the origin of the disease in question

the main theory about the origin of the disease in question


THE ESSENTIAL

  • In France, 1.2 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease according to the Health Insurance.
  • It is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the country.

Until now, scientists have been unanimous: Alzheimer’s disease is due to the formation of protein plaques – called amyloid plaques – around neurons that prevent them, among other things, from functioning properly. Hence their degeneration and the development of Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by different symptoms in patients: memory problems, simple gestures, orientation in time and space, and cognitive functions.

Neurons

But a study published this Thursday, June 2, in the journal Nature Neuroscience questions this theory. According to its authors, Alzheimer’s disease develops inside neurons and not outside. The formation of amyloid plaques would therefore only be a consequence of the disease, not the cause.

To achieve these results, the scientists worked on mice that they “made sick” of Alzheimer’s. In this way, they were able to observe that the development of this pathology was due to lysosomes, a part of the neurons that is used to eliminate the degraded or unnecessary components that they contain or encounter. Specifically, it is because these lysosomes are damaged that amyloid filaments grow inside the cell. So the neurons are malfunctioning and Alzheimer’s is growing. It is only then that the amyloid plaques form outside the neurons.

Continue research

These new elements are upsetting what is being thought about the progression of Alzheimer’s disease”Says Ralph Nixon, a biologist and one of the authors of the study. In the future, scientists want to continue their studies to see if the observations they made about mice are as valid in humans.

But despite the progress of this discovery, it does not completely challenge the old theory. Indeed, according to some researchers, there may be different types of Alzheimer’s disease, for which the role of amyloid plaques would be more or less important. However, for the time being, there is no cure for this condition despite years of research.

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