Coagulation Factor XII May Be Involved in Alzheimer’s Disease Onset, Study Finds

Coagulation Factor XII May Be Involved in Alzheimer’s Disease Onset, Study Finds
Reduced levels of the blood coagulation factor XII improves brain inflammation and cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease, new research shows. The study, “Depletion of coagulation factor XII ameliorates brain pathology and cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease mice,” appeared in the journal Blood. Vascular (blood vessel) dysfunction and inflammation in the brain are early signs of disease in Alzheimer's patients. Both these processes can trigger neuronal death, but it is unknown whether beta-amyloid, the protein that builds up into plaques in the brain of Alzheimer's patients, plays a role in these processes. The plasma protein factor XII is part of a cascade of enzymes that induce vascular pathology and inflammation. Beta-amyloid has been shown to activate this cascade, which in turn has been suggested to be overly active in Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the research team from Rockefeller University hypothesized that activation of factor XII by beta-amyloid could play a role in initiating Alzheimer's disease. The absence of cognitive impairment until later stages of Alzheimer's makes it difficult to study earlier stages of the disease. But the recent finding of genes linked to an early-onset hereditary form of Alzheimer's enabled researchers to analyze what happens in the brain before the onset of symptoms. "The first changes observed in these patients are in beta-amyloid levels. The second changes are brain abnormalities related to the vascular system, which can occur 20 years before overt cognitive symptoms appear,” Sidney Strickland, PhD, research professor and h
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