In another experimental mouse study, researchers were able to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease in mice by using a virus to deliver a specific gene into the brain.
This result was published in the Journal Proceeding of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) by researchers from the Imperial College of London. In their study the researchers injected a virus, containing the gene PGC-1α, into two areas of the brain in mice susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.
Four months after these injections, the researchers found that treated mice showed improved spatial and recognition memory, which was likely associated with a significant reduction in amyloid beta deposition, a toxic protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease pathology. However, when the researchers looked further into the results, they noted that the treated mice may have not actually developed amyloid plaques in the first place and this treatment could even be used as a preventative measure in the future.
What is PGC-1α?
PGC-1 α is involved in metabolic processes in the body, including regulation of sugar and fat metabolism. Previous research has suggested that physical exercise and a compound known as resveratrol may increase its levels.
While this study suggests that targeting the PGC-1α gene in specific areas of the brain is effective in targeting Alzheimer’s-related neurodegeneration, there is still a long way to go before it becomes ready for human trials. So unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for more research before this becomes available as a potential treatment.