Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the build-up of a brain peptide called amyloid-beta. That’s why eliminating the protein has been the focus of almost all drug research pursuing a cure for the devastating neurodegenerative condition.
But that may be counterproductive, says Dr. Inna Slutsky of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine. Her recent research demonstrates that amyloid-beta is also necessary to maintain proper brain functioning.
These findings may shake the foundations of Alzheimer’s research.
In a new study published this month in Nature Neuroscience, Dr. Slutsky finds that amyloid-beta is essential for normal day-to-day information transfer through nerve cell networks in the brain. “If this protein is removed from the brain,” says Dr. Slutsky, “as some drugs in development attempt to do, it may cause an impairment of neuronal function, as well as a further and faster accumulation of amyloid-beta in Alzheimer’s.”