Experiments conducted with mice by researchers from the Gladstone Institute for Neurological Diseases, San Fancisco, E. U., resulted in the discovery of a enzyme in the brain what can cause memory problems if it is at abnormally low levels. Scientists discovered that increasing the levels of that compound can be reduced and even avoided.
The enzyme, which is a neurotransmitter called EphB2, helps neurons communicate better with each other, say researchers in the journal Nature. With Alzheimer's disease, communication between neurons is hindered.Neurotransmission
In both humans and mice, the processes of learning and memory require effective communication between neurons, a mechanism called neurotransmission , which involves the release of chemical compounds.
The research, experts say, suggests that the chemical compound plays a key role in the memory process and when it develops Alzheimer's its levels are diminished.
One of the most obvious characteristics in the brains of people with Alzheimer's It is the accumulation of plaques of a toxic protein called amyloid.
Over time these deposits lead to the death of neurons.
However, another characteristic of amyloid is its apparent ability to adhere to the neurotransmitter EphB2, reducing the available amount of that compound.
This, the scientists believe, could partially explain the symptoms involved in memory loss.
"EphB2 is a truly unique molecule that acts both as a receptor and an enzyme," says Dr. Moustapah Cisse, who led the study.
"We think he might be involved in the memory problems that arise with Alzheimer's because it is a" master "regulator of neurotransmission and its levels in the brain they diminish with the disease "he adds.
To test this theory, the researchers carried out experiments to reduce and artificially increase the amount of EphB2 available in the brains of mice .
They discovered that when the levels of the compound were reduced, the healthy mice developed memory disorders similar to those seen in mice that have been modified to show the symptoms of Alzheimer's.
Source: BBC World