Alzheimer’s disease is known for its slow attack on neurons that are essential for memory and cognition. But why are these particular neurons in the aged brain so sensitive to disease destruction, even though other neurons remain resilient?
A new study led by researchers at Yale University School of Medicine found that sensitive neurons in the prefrontal cortex develop a “leakage” of calcium stores with age, they report in a journal on April 8. Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, Journal of the Alzheimer’s Disease Association.. This disruption of calcium storage, in turn, leads to the accumulation of phosphorylated or modified tau protein that causes neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, which is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers report that these changes occur slowly, are built over the years, and can be seen within neurons in the brains of very old monkeys.
“Age-related changes in calcium signaling are associated with early tau pathology of neurons that maintain higher cognition,” said corresponding author Albert E. Kent, a professor of neuroscience and a professor of psychology, Kavli. Amy Arnsten, a member of the Institute of Neuroscience, said. At Yale University.
These vulnerable neurons face another problem. As they grow older, they tend to lose a protein called calbindin, an important regulator of calcium signaling. It protects neurons from calcium overload and is abundant in young human neurons.
“As we age, these neurons face double pain, excessive calcium leakage begins to toxic and lowers the level of the protective agent calvindin,” Arnsten said.
Neurons in the prefrontal cortex require relatively high levels of calcium to perform cognitive function, but calcium needs to be tightly controlled. However, as regulation is lost with age, neurons become more susceptible to tau pathology and degeneration. In essence, neurons “eat” themselves from within.
“Understanding these early pathological changes may provide strategies to slow or prevent the progression of the disease,” Arnsten said.
Old world monkeys and the human brain share the same signs of Alzheimer’s disease
Dibyadeep Datta et al. Age-related calcium dysregulation associated with tau pathology and cognitive impairment in non-human primates, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (2021). DOI: 10.1002 / alz.12325
Courtesy of Yale University
Quote: Neuronal Calcium Leakage Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease (April 8, 2021) from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-leaking-calcium-neurons-early-alzheimer.html April 2021 Obtained on the 8th.
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Neuronal Calcium Leakage Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
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