Does the liver make the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease?

Anthony Cirillo
Geriatric Medicine
It remains unclear whether or not the brain plaques commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease first develop in the liver. However, research shows there is a possibility that the liver is the origin of such plaques, according to scientists at Scripps Research Institute.

Researchers evaluated the effects of three different genes on the presence of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain. Lower gene activity in the liver coincided with lower prevalence of that gene in the brain and therefore with greater protection of the brain. One of those genes, Presenilin2, is similar in both mice and humans. It is associated with increased production of amyloid-beta plaques in the liver, as well as early-onset Alzheimer's disease in humans.

Using a drug that prevents amyloid plaques created in the liver from entering the brain through the bloodstream, researchers were able to dramatically reduce the levels of amyloid-beta plaques in the brains of healthy mice. Scientists speculate that humans may have a similar response to this method of treatment.

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