3D Model Unravels How Beta-amyloid Weakens Brain-Blood Barrier, May Aid in Treatment Discovery

3D Model Unravels How Beta-amyloid Weakens Brain-Blood Barrier, May Aid in Treatment Discovery
A new 3D model using human cells grown on a chip can mimic what happens in the brain during Alzheimer's and allow for the screening of possible therapies in a disease where so many fail, including medicines already approved for other conditions. This tissue model also helps researchers see how the disease’s hallmark protein clumps damage the protective brain–blood barrier (BBB), allowing harmful substances to enter the brain of patients and cause further injury to nerve cells, its developers said. Their study, “Blood–Brain Barrier Dysfunction in a 3D In Vitro Model of Alzheimer’s Disease,” was published in the journal Advance Science. The brain–blood barrier (BBB) is a highly selective membrane that shields the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) from circulating blood, preventing damaging and toxic substances from entering the brain. This protective layer is also responsible for clearing out the toxic beta-amyloid protein that marks this disease. Evidence suggests that the accumulation of beta-amyloid in Alzheimer's disrupts several brain functions, kills neurons (nerve cells) and damages blood vessels in the brain, a condition called cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). Lab (in vitro) models that mimic the interactions of the BBB with other brain cells and with the beta-amyloid protein are key to understanding how Alzheimer's affects this vital brain barrier, and may help in developing therapies to restore it. Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), together with researchers at 
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