Researchers have zeroed in on an organ in the brain called the choroid plexus that ostensibly possesses a major role in preventing the build-up of a protein, associated with Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers have found that the choroid plexus traps the protein, called beta-amyloid, and prevents it from accumulating in the cerebrospinal fluid, that envelops the brain and spinal cord. Wei Zheng, an associate professor in the School of Health Sciences at Purdue University is of the opinion that the tissue in the organ also contains some enzymes that can actually digest some of the proteins, preventing its build up.
The findings point to a pioneering effort by the researchers, indicating the presence of an inherent mechanism in the brain that can remove the beta-amyloid. "This newly uncovered pathway may help explain how normal brains balance this protein and how an imbalance caused by aging, genetic or environmental factors may lead to or worsen Alzheimer's disease," Zheng said.
It is well established knowledge that the cerebrospinal fluid in the brains of Alzheimer's patients do contain above normal quantities of beta-amyloid fragments. This discovery is a major indicator of a faulty choroid plexus that possibly causes an unhealthy build up of protein in the brain, leading to Alzheimer's.
Findings are detailed in a research paper written by postdoctoral research associate Janelle S. Crossgrove, postdoctoral fellow G. Jane Li and Zheng, all in the Purdue School of Health Sciences.