Researchers from the University of Florida have found a link between an Alzheimer’s disease protein and the brain’s stress response. The research was conducted on mouse models as well as in human cells. The findings revealed a stress-coping hormone released by the brain increases the production of protein fragments. The protein fragments are known as amyloid beta, and they clump together resulting in brain degeneration and ultimately Alzheimer’s disease.
The findings further reveal the link between stress and its role in Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including lifestyle, genetic and environmental.
Compared to genetic factors, uncovering non-genetic factors and their role in Alzheimer’s disease is quite challenging, so each study like this one brings us one step closer to better understanding Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers found the stress hormone – corticotrophin – gets released in the brain. This leads to the overproduction of amyloid beta which contributes to brain degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease.
In mouse models, mice exposed to acute stress had more Alzheimer-related proteins compared to the control groups. The amyloid beta found in these mice was also specific to Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers suggest that reducing stress in one’s life is the easiest way to ward off possible Alzheimer’s disease, as opposed to attempting to combat the genetic factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In the future it may be possible to block the stress hormone as a means of further preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
The findings were published in the EMBO Journal.