Scientists at the Herti Institute for Clinical Research of the Brain in Tübingen and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases have found that incurable and deadly Alzheimer’s disease does not begin to develop in old age, but in relatively young people. A chain reaction occurs, which in the future leads to protein deposits that are harmful to nerve cells.
The researchers found that, in addition to the early phase of Alheimer’s disease, when amyloid protein deposits are already occurring but symptoms are not yet present, there is an even earlier phase of the disease in which aggregation grains trigger the formation of amyloid plaques.
Scientists have searched for antibodies directed against misfolded amyloid beta proteins that form plaques. It turned out that the human monoclonal antibody aducanumab is capable of recognizing early aggregation grains and eliminating them. Transgenic mice, which were treated just five days before the appearance of the first protein deposits, had half the usual amyloid plaques later in life.
Researchers now agree that treatment for Alzheimer’s disease should begin earlier, and not when memory impairment has already begun. However, the results of the Tubingen scientists have shown that the disease begins at a younger age.