Alzheimer’s disease might start from other parts of the body before eventually traveling to the brain, a recent study claims. Science is now exploring the scope of Alzheimer’s disease outside the brain.
Weihong Song, lead study author and psychiatry professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada said, “Alzheimer’s disease is clearly a disease of the brain. But we need to pay attention to the whole body to understand where it comes from – and how to stop it.”
Song and his colleagues used parabiosis – a technique, which involves surgically joining specimens so, that they both share the same supply of blood. This was published in the journal, Molecular Psychiatry.
In this research, modified mice with high levels of amyloid beta protein – a protein responsible for Alzheimer’s disease – were attached to normal mice that don’t develop Alzheimer’s. After certain months, healthy mice were found to have Alzheimer’s and related brain deterioration.
Amyloid beta precursor is found in some organs, whereas amyloid protein is produced in blood vessels, blood platelets and muscles. While there had been no clarity regarding the role of amyloid beta from outside the brain in developing Alzheimer’s till date, the new study predicted the possibility of the same.
Song also said, “The blood-brain barrier weakens as we age that might allow more amyloid beta to infiltrate the brain, supplementing what is produced by the brain itself and accelerating the deterioration.”
There are more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. The study findings suggest that future drug therapies can totally stop or slow down the progression of the disease by focusing on liver or kidney instead of brain.