June 17, 2012
Immune System Removes Beta-Amyloid Toxin From Brain?

Would a more vigorous immune system help prevent Alzheimer's disease? The immune system looks like it protects our brains from beta-amyloid build-up. So would immune system rejuvenation protect the brain from Alzheimer's?

Recent work in mice suggested that the immune system is involved in removing beta-amyloid, the main Alzheimer's-causing substance in the brain. Researchers have now shown for the first time that this may apply in humans.

Researchers at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter with colleagues in the National Institute on Aging in the USA and in Italy screened the expression levels of thousands of genes in blood samples from nearly 700 people. The telltale marker of immune system activity against beta-amyloid, a gene called CCR2, emerged as the top marker associated with memory in people.

The immune system ages along with the rest of the body. Is Alzheimer's disease partly caused by the immune system becoming too sluggish to prevent beta-amyloid build-up in the brain?

A rejuvenated immune system would offer a number of advantages. Most obviously, old people would be at less risk of death from pneumonia or assorted infections picked up in hospitals. But also, an aged immune system is associated with an increased risk of cancer. In fact, rare people have an especially anti-cancer immune system. So a combined rejuvenation and anti-cancer enhancement of the immune system would cut cancer risks.

Since the immune system also removes metabolic trash from the body a rejuvenated immune system would likely reduce the rate of overall body aging by preventing the build-up harmful secretions of cells such as beta-amyloid.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 June 17 07:33 AM  Biomedical Alzheimers Treatment

PacRim Jim said at June 18, 2012 11:26 AM:

Which raises a question:
Do you suppose that the human brain has an "immune system" that removes/forgets/denies toxic memes/thoughts/experiences, to protect the mind?

Peter Spiegel said at June 18, 2012 3:15 PM:

Maybe exercise's protective effect works here?

Tj Green said at June 19, 2012 7:21 AM:

We need to replace or rejuvenate the thymus.

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