TREM2 Protein May Slow Memory Impairment in Alzheimer’s, Study Suggests

TREM2 Protein May Slow Memory Impairment in Alzheimer’s, Study Suggests
Higher concentrations of a protein produced exclusively by the brain's immune cells, called TREM2, may prevent memory decline and lessen brain degeneration in people with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study. The results of the study, “Increased soluble TREM2 in cerebrospinal fluid is associated with reduced cognitive and clinical decline in Alzheimer's disease,” were published in Science Translational Medicine. Microglia, a type of brain immune cell that also provides support to other neurons, selectively expresses a receptor known as TREM2. Recent studies have found that certain immune responses in the brain can contribute to Alzheimer’s characteristic cognitive decline. Evidence also indicates that loss-of-function mutations in the TREM2 gene — which cause the resulting protein's activity to become reduced or non-existent — dramatically increase the risk for late onset Alzheimer’s. Thus, in theory, boosting TREM2 function could be regarded as a potential therapeutic strategy. Previous work from researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Munich, Germany, has shown that TREM2 activates microglia to selectively destroy Alzheimer’s-related toxic protein aggregates in mice. That indicates a protective role for TREM2 in this disease. Importantly, TREM2’s concentration is elevated in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) — the liquid surr
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