ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2009) – Scientists from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, through their continuous research and investigations have made path-breaking discovery that could eradicate amyloid plaques from the brain resulting in innovative treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.
A detailed article on this discovery has been published online in The FASEB Journal. In this article it has been vividly described how these scientists found surprising facts about brain's immune cells also called microglia, which when stimulated with the interleukin-6 protein (IL-6), eliminated amyloid plaques. This investigation performed on mice detected with Alzheimer's Disease did not have any negative effect on amyloid plaques.
"Our study highlights the notion that manipulating the brain's immune response could be translated into clinically tolerated regimens for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases," said Pritam Das, co-author of the study, from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL.
Mr.Das and his team were actually on a mission to prove that microglia when stimulated results in inflammation, making the disease worse. They believed microglia when activated would try to but fail in removing plaques resulting in excessive inflammation. But Das and his colleagues were in complete delight to find positive impact of IL-6 on microglia that truly eliminated plaques from the brains.
The excitement of this new and unexpected discovery made the scientists to go ahead with further experimentations. They over-expressed IL-6 in the brains of newborn mice without any traces of amyloid plaques and in the mice who had already a deposition of plaques. The scientists with the help of somatic brain transgenesis technology examined how IL-6 worked and its effects on brain neuro-inflammation and plaque deposition. It was found that amyloid plaques was cleared from the brains of the both the groups of mice due to expression of IL-6. The research team carried out further investigations to have a clear idea how IL-6 works. They found that the inflammation resulting due to expression of IL-6 actually made microglia produce proteins that helped in clearing the plaques. This extraordinary research concluded that inflammatory mediators influenced the brain’s immune cells in a positive way that could lead to new medical interventions for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease.
"This model is as close to human pathology as animal models get. These results give us an exciting lead to newer, more effective treatments of Alzheimer's disease," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "This study demonstrates that investment in experimental biology is the best way to approach the challenge posed by an aging population to the cost of health care."