Deprivation of an amino acid called arginine is likely to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. This has been revealed by a new research whose findings would be of great help in ushering new treatment strategies. The treatments will be used on patients who are suffering from the debilitating dementias with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common.
Researchers are said to have identified microglia. Basically, this is usually the first line of defense against any brain infection. Arginine which is an essential amino acid will be consumed uncharacteristically by the cells during the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
The arginine consumption process was blocked in mice using a drug called difluoromethylornithine. This was meant to prevent the build-up of sticky proteins usually referred to as plaques. The drug which is also used to treat various types of cancer helped in improving the memory performance of the mice.
According to one of the researchers, Matthew Kan, the results present a clear indication that the blocking of this local process of amino acid deprivation in mice would be protected from this common form of dementia – Alzheimer’s disease.
No one can really explain the precise role of immune system cells in causing dementia. However, researchers say that they are finding a lot of encouragement in the new findings. This is because they are able to establish a certain connection between the domination of the immune system and Alzheimer’s disease.
“This study is likely to open doors into more thinking about Alzheimer’s. The thinking will be done in a totally different way which will lead to breaking of stalemate ideas in AD,” Stated the lead author of the study and professor of neurology, Carol Colton.
The findings have since been welcomed by the UK-based Alzheimer’s Society. “Our incomplete acceptance of the processes that cause Alzheimer’s disease has been joined by some dots now,” Alzheimer’s Society head of research, James Pickett, said.
Never the less, Pickett feels that the new findings provide some reflection into earlier observations of how arginine is reduced in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.