Increased susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease in a monkey model due to activation of the immune system

10 October 2016

BPRC - 1. Increased susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease in a monkey model due to activation of the immune system

There is still no treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Researchers from the BPRC have studied the influence of the immune system on the development of the disease. This could open up new possibilities for therapies.

Alzheimer's disease is an increasing problem for the aging society. It is characterized by severe dementia and specific protein aggregations in the brain, the so-called amyloid plaques.

As the immune system is mentioned as a potential target for Alzheimer's disease treatment, the influence of inflammation on plaque progression was tested in the marmoset monkey.

Amyloid proteins were injected into the brain of marmosets with or without lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a compound that induces inflammation.

All monkeys with the induced inflammation (LPS injected monkeys) showed an increase on early Alzheimer's disease blood biomarkers. Two out of three monkeys injected with amyloid combined with LPS and also an additional monkey, suffering from chronic inflammation, developed plaques. On the other hand, none of the controls, injected with amyloid proteins only, developed any plaques.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27662314) indicates the high translational power of the marmoset for Alzheimer's disease research. The model not only shows a natural plaque progression at age similar to human, but also the transmissibility of amyloid proteins and the influence of inflammation on the susceptibility for plaque development, which offers new perspectives for treatment in Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, the model can generate essential knowledge about the mechanism of plaque development and can be used to validate new therapies for Alzheimer's disease.