Side-effects associated with a stress-coping hormone released by the brain may lead to Alzheimer's disease, says a new study.
The stress coping hormone, called CRF, boosts the production of protein fragments known as amyloid beta, which clump together and trigger the brain degeneration that leads to Alzheimer's disease, the research revealed.
The University of Florida Health researchers conducted the study on a mouse model and in human cells. Alzheimer's is believed to stem from a mix of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors.
"Our study adds detailed insight into the stress mechanisms that might promote at least one of the Alzheimer's pathologies," said Todd Golde, study co-author.
The study found that stress causes the release of a hormone called corticotrophin releasing factor, or CRF, in the brain. That, in turn, increases production of amyloid beta. As amyloid beta collects in the brain, it initiates a complex degenerative cascade that leads to Alzheimer's disease.
During laboratory testing, mouse models that were exposed to acute stress had more of the Alzheimer's-related protein in their brains than those in a control group. The stressed mice also had more of a specific form of amyloid beta, one that has a particularly pernicious role in the development of Alzheimer's disease, researchers found.
The researchers then treated human neurons with CRF. That caused a significant increase in the amyloid proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease. Those and other complex experiments reveal more about the mechanics of a likely relationship between stress and Alzheimer's disease. The findings were published in The EMBO Journal