Researchers from the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Barcelona published a study in Nature Connections, on Reelin. This protein is crucial to adult brain plasticity, and it has been found to recover cognitive functions in mice with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease characterized by cognitive defects, synaptic loss, and neuronal death, is mainly associated with the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and the presence of neurofibrillary tangles. This new study demonstrates that an increase in Reelin brain levels helps avoid cognitive decline in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. Reelin also delays amyloid-beta fibril formation in vitro, and reduces amyloid deposits in mice.
Instead of focusing efforts on therapeutic targets directed toward a certain processes within Alzheimer’s, the scientists analyzed Reelin’s dual pathway that regulates the amyloid precursor protein and tau protein. Though researchers previously understood that Reelin played a part in a double regulating pathway of both amyloid beta and tau protein, it was difficult to pinpoint its exact role. The study sheds light on a new mechanism that allows understanding of the link between these two crucial parts of Alzheimer’s disease, and also proves that Reelin overexpression may be beneficial.