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International team of scientists explores a possible way to restore cognition in mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease through neuron transplants

Thursday 15 March 2018

On 15 March, researchers from the USA, Spain and France published an article on the investigation of a potential new path towards Alzheimer’s disease (AD) treatment in the journal Neuron. The scientists wanted to elucidate if it could be possible to restore brain rhythms and cognition using improved neurons in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.

Their investigation is based on evidence showing that damage to specific neurons can change brainwave rhythms and cause a loss of cognitive functions. In particular, the so-called “inhibitory interneuron” seems to be a key player in the management of brain rhythms. These interneurons allow other neurons to send signals throughout the brain in a harmonised way.

The team used genetically improved interneurons and implanted them into the brains of the mouse models of AD. Their findings showed that the altered interneurons were then able to control the activity of other cells, which helped to re-establish brain rhythms and improve cognitive functions.

While these results may open up new ways to tackle the pursuit for a cure in future, the plain findings cannot be adopted to humans and remain at a fundamental stage. The scientists are therefore currently examining if the cell therapy is translatable to humans. At the same time, the findings encouraged the researchers to focus on new drug treatments to enhance the function of inhibitory interneurons to improve cognition in AD.