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Stress Protein Inactivation Cuts Alzheimer's Peptide in Mice

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The investigators identified corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) that is linked to increased levels of brain cell communication, which that in turn has already been associated to increased amyloid beta by previous studies.

When they directly placed CRF in the mouse brain, amyloid beta levels rose immediately. However, when mice were given a CRF blocker, stressed animals did not display increased amyloid beta.

"There are very few known environmental risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. Head trauma increases risk, higher education lowers it. Stress may be another environmental factor that increases risk," Holtzman notes.

He believes that drugs that block CRF or reduce anxiety may provide a new way to decrease amyloid beta, and eventually delay or prevent Alzheimer's disease. The researchers are continuing to explore connections between brain cell activity and amyloid beta levels.


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