RNA fragment found to regulate Alzheimer's development

Share this content:
A tiny fragment of human RNA, once thought to be a mere byproduct, actually plays a role in regulating the inflammation and development of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research.

Researchers at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans found increased levels of the tiny RNA fragments, called miRNA-146, in stressed brain cells and in patients with Alzheimer's disease. MiRNA-146 inhibits the production of an anti-inflammatory compound called complement factor H (CPH) in the brain, according to the study. Without CPH present, miRNA-146 is free to inflame the brain cells, which can lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Further understanding of the molecular pathologies of Alzheimer's is necessary for developing effective therapies, researchers say. Their study is available in the November 14 issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.