Alzheimer’s Amyloid Gets Immune System Trim

05:43 EST 8 Mar 2018 | Genetic Engineering News

Immune cells in the brain have a trigger, and when it is pulled, it prompts immune cells to degrade toxic β-amyloid (Aβ) proteins. This new finding, from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute (SBP), helps explain why a faulty trigger appears to raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Increasing the genetic expression of the trigger—a way of pulling the trigger more often—could prevent or reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. The trigger is called triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2). TREM2’s amyloid-binding mechanism and its potential use against Alzheimer’s were discussed in two papers that appeared March 7 in the journal Neuron . "Our first paper identifies how Aβ binds to TREM2, which activates neural immune cells called microglia to degrade Aβ, possibly slowing Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis," said Huaxi Xu, Ph.D., professor and director of SBP's Neuroscience Initiative. "The second study ...

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