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Predisposed to Decay

Neurons of Alzheimer's patient brains more prone to age-related deterioration and are associated with brain inflammation

22 December 2022

Predisposed to Decay

The memory loss, confusion and diminished cognitive function experienced by Alzheimer’s disease patients is the result of progressive neurodegeneration, which itself is linked to the accumulation of misfolded proteins and inflammation in the brain. Despite extensive research, the primary cause of the disease remains unknown, but recent studies reveal Alzheimer’s patients’ brain cells may be fundamentally different to those of similarly aged healthy individuals. Neurons derived from patient stem cells, like the green-stained cells shown, are more prone to age-related deterioration, or senescence, than those from healthy people, it was discovered, and this senescence causes the cells to release pro-inflammatory factors. The increased occurrence of senescence was also seen in postmortem brains. Because anti-senescence drugs are already used to treat some other inflammatory conditions, the hope is that such drugs, if capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, might help to lower inflammation and degeneration in the Alzheimer’s brain too.

Written by Ruth Williams

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