09 December 2008

Alzheimer's disease and herpes: the tasks are clear...

British scientists have confirmed the role of herpes in the development of Alzheimer's disease

Scientists from the University of Manchester (Manchester University) have found new evidence of the role of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in the development of Alzheimer's disease. They were able to detect viral DNA in the majority of amyloid plaques of the brain of patients with this disease, the Journal of Pathology reports.

Earlier, the same team of scientists led by Ruth Itzhaki showed that the herpes simplex virus is found in the brain of almost 70% of patients with Alzheimer's disease. In addition, they confirmed that when a brain cell culture is infected with a virus, there is a significant increase in the level of beta-amyloid. In the course of the latest study, scientists were able to find out that the main part of the viral DNA is located inside amyloid plaques. According to their data, 90% of plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease contain HSV-1 DNA.

Taking into account the results of all three experiments, British scientists have proposed a new theory of the development of Alzheimer's disease. According to this theory, HSV-1 enters the brain of elderly people with weakened immunity and exists for some time in the form of a latent (dormant) infection. Under stress, decreased immunity, against the background of various infections, the reactivation of the virus occurs, which is accompanied by damage and destruction of nerve cells. In this case, proteins are released, from which amyloid plaques are formed. Accumulations of amyloid plaques in brain tissues are considered the main sign, as well as a probable cause of the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Taking into account the new data, Itzhaki and her colleagues suggested that antiviral drugs used to treat herpes may also prevent the development of dementia in Alzheimer's disease. A possible alternative to fighting this disease may be vaccination against the herpes virus, they believe. Currently, scientists are conducting research that will assess the effect of antiviral drugs in Alzheimer's disease.

News from Science Daily: Cold Sore Virus Linked To Alzheimer's Disease: New Treatment, Or Even Vaccine Possible

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