Brain inflammation treats, not causes, Alzheimer's disease, research suggests

Share this content:

Inflammation in the brain is not a trigger that leads to a build-up of Alzheimer's disease-causing amyloid-beta plaques. It could actually be manipulated to cleanse the brain of those plaques, according to new research.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Florida used “Somatic Brain Transgenesis” to induce inflammation in the brains of laboratory mice predisposed to develop Alzheimer's disease. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the inflammation did not spur the development of amyloid-beta plaques. Rather, it prevented the plaques from forming and cleared existing plaques. To confirm the results, researchers conducted the experiment using several different approaches. The results remained consistent.

Most people who study Alzheimer's disease believe that inflammation of the brain causes the build-up of amyloid-beta plaques, which are associated with the development of Alzheimer's, according to lead researchers Pritam Das, Ph.D. By selectively manipulating brain inflammation, researchers could develop an effective treatment for neurological disorders associated with a buildup of proteins and plaques. The research appears in the online issue of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal.