Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases lead to increasing problems in working memory and other complex cognitive functions.
Scientists from temple University in the U.S. were able to reveal some previously unknown aspects of the development of neurodegenerative processes and using new knowledge, partly to reverse them. Their discoveries, they tested on mice, according to a paper published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology.
Scientists have found that the signaling molecules leukotrienes, are known for their negative impact on the lungs causing bronchospasm, also play an important role in various forms of dementia, usually in the later stages.
In the early stages of enhanced synthesis of leukotriene aimed at slowing neurodegeneration, but then has a negative impact on the brain, increasing the adhesion in the cell “clumping” of the so-called Tau-protein. This process leads to destabilization of the cell skeleton, the degradation of synapses and, as a consequence, impaired memory, learning and other functions.
Having discovered this, scientists decided to test whether blocking leukotrienes to reverse the damages. For this, the researchers used genetically modified mice prone to the development of topatoi: at the age of 12 months (equivalent to 60 human years), the animals received zileuton — antileukotrienes a drug used to prevent the development of bronchospasm. Sixteen weeks later, these mice were tested for spatial memory. Effects zileuton was very noticeable: these rodents significantly better deal with the maze.
Finally, to ensure that the idea was correct, the authors assessed the level of leukotrienes, showing that while taking the drug their number in the brain tissue is reduced considerably. Not so impressive — but still half — falling and the number of insoluble “clumps” of the Tau protein. Finally, slowed down and degradation of synapses.
Their mechanisms are extraordinarily complex and still poorly understood, which makes these diseases incurable.