Amino Acid L-Serine May Reduce Memory Loss in Alzheimer’s Disease, Study Suggests

Amino Acid L-Serine May Reduce Memory Loss in Alzheimer’s Disease, Study Suggests
Dietary supplements with the amino acid L-serine may help reduce memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease, a new study suggests.  That result was described in the study “Impairment of Glycolysis-Derived L-Serine Production in Astrocytes Contributes to Cognitive Deficits in Alzheimer’s Disease,” published in the journal Cell Metabolism. The brain uses large amounts of energy produced from the breakdown, or metabolism, of a type of sugar called glucose. Previous studies have shown that in the early phases of Alzheimer's disease there is a reduction in the use of glucose by astrocyte cells, found in brain and spinal cord. Astrocytes are non-neuronal cells that surround neurons, providing support and protection. Scientists at the Université Paris-Saclay and the Université de Bordeaux, France, used a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease to understand how these metabolic alterations may be connected to impaired cognition. The team found that less glucose use by astrocytes in the context of Alzheimer's also lowered the levels of the amino acid L-serine, which is produced from the breakdown of glucose and is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. L-serine is used to produce D-serine in the brain, a compound that stimulates N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors present in neuronal cells. These receptors are essential for brain function and for establishing memories. The team found that with less L-serine available, the activity of NMDA receptors was reduced. This altered neuronal synaptic plasticity and the capacity of brain nerve cells to store memories. Of note, synapses are the junctions between two nerve cells that allow them to communicate; synaptic plasticity refers to the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time. Mice with l
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