- A new study may explain why women are more prone to Alzheimer’s disease.
- The authors show that women’s brains have elevated levels of an enzyme that promotes the accumulation of tau protein, which is responsible for the accumulation of protein clumps seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
- The authors say the study is not a reason for alarm, but a potential breakthrough to help develop medicines to protect people, especially women.
Researchers may have made great strides in explaining why more women get Alzheimer’s disease than men.
Scientists at Case Western Reserve University note that women’s brains express higher levels of enzymes known as specific enzymes.
USP11 functions to remove a small protein tag called Ubiquitin From proteins, including tau protein.
Ubiquitin normally targets proteins for degradation. However, once ubiquitin is removed, this is no longer the case and proteins can accumulate.
Therefore, higher levels of USP11 expression result in higher tau protein accumulation in women, leading to the development of toxic accumulation of protein clumps that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
As a result, women have higher accumulations of tau protein, causing the development of toxic accumulations of protein clumps that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists have known for years that women are more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than men. Estimation of the Alzheimer’s Association About two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s are women. Previously, scientists hypothesized that this was because women generally lived longer.
“The risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases with age, and women tend to live longer than men.” Nikhil Palekar, MD, He is Director of the Stony Brook Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease and Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Division.
But Parekar said scientists have long wondered if other factors were at play, and he believes this new study will help provide answers. I agree.
“This is a cutting edge discovery” Sheh Datta, M.D., Ph.D.co-director NYU Langone Concussion Center Director of Cognitive Neurology NYU Langone Hospital – Long Island“It has long been known that women have a higher tau load and are 1.7 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, and we may now know why.”
However, to the layman, these findings suggest that
Researchers didn’t expect to find a potential reason for the increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in women. David Kang, PhD, Howard T. Kerstner Professor of Pathology at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and co-lead author of the published study. Initially, the goal of this study was to perform an objective screen to identify enzymes that remove ubiquitin from the tau protein.
why? The presence of ubiquitin on tau is regulated by a balanced system of enzymes that add or remove ubiquitin tags, Kang explains. can accumulate abnormal accumulations of tau seen in
Kang and her team say they were surprised to find that USP11 is located on the X chromosome (biological women have two) even in women without dementia.
“Usually in women, one of the X chromosomes is more or less inactivated … but there are 10 to 20 percent of genes on the X chromosome that can escape this inactivation,” says Kang. “USP11 happens to be one of them.”
Researchers genetically ablated USP11 in mice, showing that it could protect females from tau accumulation and cognitive decline.
Simply put, having two X chromosomes causes protein clumping in the brain and increases levels of an enzyme that leads to Alzheimer’s disease,” Datta said, adding that inhibiting USP11 could reduce Alzheimer’s disease in women. He added that it may be possible to reduce the increased risk of disease.
Women may find this research unsettling, but Kang believes it is a source of hope.
“We already knew that women were more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease than men,” he says. “We need to know what the cause is.
Kang cautioned that the animal models used by researchers may not be fully applicable to humans.
Datta says these treatments may also help individuals with other diseases caused by tau buildup, such as:
- multiple system atrophy (MSA)
- corticobasal degeneration
- frontotemporal dementia
- Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
Palekar also cautions that while women are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, a woman’s biological sex is not the only risk factor.
- brain inflammation
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
Scientists have yet to identify the exact gene directly responsible for triggering late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, but the NIH and Palekar identified a mutation in the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene on chromosome 19. People with it are at increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. disease.
This gene helps make proteins that carry fat in the bloodstream.
Additionally, conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can affect the brain.
“Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol reduce blood flow to the brain by narrowing blood vessels, which may also be linked to Alzheimer’s disease,” says Palekar. “So we don’t want to put hats on Tau.”
People cannot control all aspects of their susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease, including biological sex and genetics.
Say “At this stage, there are no magic bullets” Lawrence Miller PhD, Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, Adjunct Professor at Florida Atlantic University. “In general, positive health habits are beneficial for both the brain and the body.”
Palekar agrees that Alzheimer’s disease cannot be completely prevented, but he wants patients to feel empowered to do what they can to lower their risk, regardless of their biological sex or family history. increase.
“There are so many things you can do,” he says. These measures include:
- Taking medications and seeking treatment to control conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- social interaction
- Keep your brain active with work, games and puzzles
“There is increasing evidence that exercise boosts overall cardiovascular health and that brain oxygenation may have beneficial preventive effects,” says Miller.
Palekar suggests logging 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
These diets prioritize lean protein, produce, and healthy fats like olive oil, and de-prioritize ultra-processed foods, sugar, and salt.
Also in 2018,