Reducing the levels of a protein called tau helped in the reduction of Alzheimer's symptoms in mice. This promises to be a novel way of helping find treatment to a deadly brain disorder, scientists hope.
Dr. Lennart Mucke of the University of California, San Francisco said, "If this strategy also works in humans, it could enable a major leap forward in our ability"
The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Science, studied mice that were genetically modified to portray the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
They found that when the production of tau was retarded, it helped prevent seizures and memory deficits associated with the disease.
"Amazingly, even partial reduction of tau prevented memory problems and premature deaths in our Alzheimer mice," said Dr. Erik Roberson, assistant professor of neurology at UCSF.
The present treatment measure for Alzheimer's disease is focused on methods to bring down levels of amyloid-beta proteins, which develop to abnormal levels causing the disease. In a normal brain, tau monitors the internal stability of brain cells. In patients with Alzheimer's, the protein gets entangled forming knots. There have been many treatment approaches that target to dissolve these tangles, but the present study is concerned with the regulation of levels of tau.
"We wanted to pursue a complementary strategy and try to make the brain more resistant to amyloid-beta proteins," Roberson said.