Studies Identify Neurons Vulnerable to Alzheimer’s Disease

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Alzheimer’s disease is recognized as a condition that is not curable. It can happen when neurons and brain cells have degenerated, which results in memory and cognitive problems.

Researchers were able to identify the specific protein which is prone to degeneration. Researchers only know the neurons that die first, but a recent study will help develop effective treatments in the future.

Protein Build-Ups in Brain Regions

In their study, the scientists executed a post-mortem brain analysis to monitor the progress of Alzheimer’s. They have looked at protein build-ups in different locations in the brain.

For people with Alzheimer’s, their tau proteins trigger the cells to cause these cells to die. After identifying the disease’s progression, the researchers studied the entorhinal cortex and superior frontal gyrus brain regions.

The entorhinal cortex is responsible for memory. Meanwhile, the superior frontal gyrus is more associated with self-awareness functions.

When a person has Alzheimer’s disease, tau protein is collected in the entorhinal cortex but do not reach the frontal gyrus. The researchers evaluated the types of neurons which are found in the entorhinal cortex.

They have found out that excitatory neuron so far is the most vulnerable. This type of neuron usually declines by 50% during Alzheimer’s disease.

Protein Cells Controlled by RORB

In addition to this, excitatory neurons contain many RORB (retinoid-related orphan receptor alpha), making them vulnerable. Also, RORB can control protein cells, which means they can damage the brain’s pathways leading to disease.

To further support this claim, the scientists also studied the neurons found in the superior frontal gyrus. The findings showed that the vulnerability of neurons in the superior frontal gyrus is high if there is a high level of RORB.

Other neuron types were checked to see if there will be changes, and only astrocytes had shown changes. Astrocytes are the ones that regulate neuronal activity and protect the brain from infection.

The recent study only used male brain samples with Alzheimer’s disease. As of now, it is hard to say if these will also be the same with women. Despite this, this study will give a better understanding of the cells which are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Further studies are expected to produce more effective results and therapies to give hope to people with Alzheimer’s disease.


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