A particular type of brain cell may play a key role in making you vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study out of the Ohio State University.
The OSU researchers found that the excitatory neurons, or brain cells that are more likely to trigger an action, are more susceptible to a build-up of an abnormal tau protein that is believed to be linked to Alzheimer’s.
In people with early Alzheimer’s disease, there is an accumulation of abnormal tau protein that clogs and kills neurons. This protein build-up has also been linked to dementia and traumatic brain injury.
For the OSU study, researchers examined the brains of people with Alzheimer’s in addition to using a mouse model, and they found that the abnormal protein built up mainly in excitatory neurons, as opposed to inhibitory neurons. They also found genetic differences between excitatory neurons and other cells and determined the gene BAG3 played a role in clearing out abnormal tau protein.
Further research into how these genes and cells interact could lead to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s treatment, detection, and prevention.
Sourced from: Nature Neuroscience