Alzheimer’s Animal Studies Examine Lack of ‘Cleaning’ in Brain Cells

Alzheimer’s Animal Studies Examine Lack of ‘Cleaning’ in Brain Cells
Boosting mitophagy — a natural process that clears neurons from damaged mitochondria (cells' energy powerhouses) — decreased amyloid plaque formation and reversed cognitive deficits, namely memory impairments, across different animal models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). "When the cleaning system does not work properly, there will be an accumulation of defective mitochondria in the brain cells. And this may be really dangerous. At any rate, the poor cleaning system is markedly present in cells from both humans and animals with Alzheimer's. And when we improve the cleaning in live animals, their Alzheimer's symptoms almost disappear," Vilhelm Bohr, study co-lead author, said in a press release. Bohr is affiliate professor at the Center for Healthy Aging and National Institutes of Health. The study “Mitophagy inhibits amyloid-β and tau pathology and reverses cognitive deficits in models of Alzheimer’s disease” was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Mitochondria provide the energy necessary for neurons' survival and optimal function. Not surprisingly, accumulation of damaged mitochondria is seen in sporadic and familial forms of Alzheimer’s disease, and in mouse models of the disease. To prevent the accumulation of damaged mitochondria, cells have a cleaning processes called mitophagy that, once activated, targets damaged mitochondria to degradation and recycling. However, the role of mitophagy in AD progression is unclear. An international team of researchers looked closely at post-mortem brain t
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