Greater understanding of Alzheimer’s disease

Otago scientists have made an important discovery in understanding the role a particular protein plays to impair memory in Alzheimer’s disease, which could lead to more effective treatment in future.

Professor Cliff Abraham and Dr Anurag Singh from the Department of Psychology have identified that a protein in the brain — tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) — normally associated with inflammation, becomes abnormally active in the Alzheimer’s brain, impairing the memory mechanism.

The overproduction of this protein (TNFα) may be one of the reasons behind the disease-related impairments of memory formation in the brain.

“While TNFα has been linked previously with Alzheimer’s and memory studies, it has not been understood that neural overactivity can drive the production of this protein to inhibit memory mechanisms in the brain,” Professor Abraham, a Principal Investigator with the University’s Brain Health Research Centre, explains.

Full story at Science Daily