Scientists around the world are still seeking better understanding of Alzheimer's disease in order to treat or prevent the development of this disease. However, new drugs have rarely been developed in recent years.

In a new study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, a team of researchers from international institutions such as the University of Copenhagen, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Oslo targeted a brain cell cleaning process called mitochondrial autophagy.

“When the cleaning system is not working properly, defective mitochondrial accumulation will occur in the brain cells. This can be really dangerous. In any event, poor cleaning systems are present in the cells of humans and animals with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's symptoms almost disappeared when we improved the cleansing of living animals," said the author of the study, Professor Vilhelm Bohr of NIH.

The researchers closely followed the brain cells of patients who died from Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's disease-induced stem cells, and the cleaning process of brain cells in a living mouse model. In addition, they tested the activity of molecules that target the cleaning process in animal models.

Mitochondria are located inside cells and can be thought of as a cell's energy plant. Mitochondrial autophagy decomposes defective mitochondria and reuses proteins composed of them. It has been known from previous studies that dysfunctional mitochondrial autophagy is associated with poor function and viability of nerve cells, but so far there is no evidence that it is associated with Alzheimer's disease.

In Alzheimer's and other dementia states, there is accumulation of protein tau and amyloid beta in the brain, which could ultimately lead to cell death. In the new animal model, the researchers showed that the rate of this accumulation process slows as mitochondrial autophagy increases.

The researchers believe that their findings suggest that the cleansing process is a potential target for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and should be studied in the next step.

Other Facts about Alzheimer’s
1. Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually deprives the ability to carry out the simplest of the patients.

2. Alzheimer's disease currently ranks the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that this rank may jump to the third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people.

3. To help people stay healthy in old age, a nutritious diet, physical activity, social engagement, and mentally stimulating pursuits all play a part. The more such activities are, the less likelihood that they would suffer from Alzheimer's.

Author's Bio: 

Scientists at BOC Sciences are always dedicated to the great cause of conquering major diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. With this aim in mind, they provide a series of professional pharmaceutical services covering the whole process of drug development from drug discovery to the screening libraries of lead compounds to drug design, DNA encoded library, virtual screening or even chemical synthesis like carbohydrate synthesis, fluorescent labeling, bioconjugation, etc.