Alzheimer’s Patients could Improve Brain Function with Cell Therapy

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A new study has revealed that Alzheimer’s models could restore cognitive functions by transplanting a special neuron variety into the brain. In the research published in Neuron, Gladstone Institutes assistant investigator, Jorge Palop, PhD has been unveiled that inhibitory interneurons could be genetically improved and transplanted into the brain to attain therapeutic benefits when dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers showed that brain rhythms in Alzheimer models could be restored while the activity of excitatory cells could be controlled when the interneurons are enhanced and transplanted into the abnormal brain. They have found a technique to reengineer the interneurons to enhance their function.

Findings to Lead to Development of New Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease

Palop and team has said that they had taken advantage of the fact that each transplanted interneuron could control several excitatory neurons and integrate into new brain tissues remarkably well. However, they had to first tackle a telling challenge. The brain of Alzheimer patients usually suffers from a toxic environment created by the disease. This caused beneficial effects of transplanted regular interneurons to not show up. With a view to encounter the challenge, the researchers added Nav1.1, a protein, to genetically boost inhibitory interneuron activity. They found that enhanced function of these interneurons restored brain function and overcame the toxic disease environment.

The cell engineering and transplantation approach of the researchers could find regenerative medicine applications, said Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease director, Lennart Mucke, MD. Palop and team have been involved in finding potential drugs to alternatively improve inhibitory interneuron function, besides assessing the possibility of translating cell therapy from mice to humans.

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