Alzheimer’s comes decades after viral infections

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Viral infections can cause Alzheimer’s decades later. Researchers at the University of Freiburg have now shown a similar connection in a study with mice.

The researchers assume that these results are transferable to humans, the University of Freiburg announced on Tuesday. “It could be chronic inflammation like chlamydia that sets in at age 35,” explains study group leader Lavinia Alberi Auber.

What causes Alzheimer’s disease is still a great mystery in medicine. In recent years, however, there has been increasing evidence that chronic inflammation, most likely caused by viruses, plays a decisive role in the onset of the disease.

Infection at a young age affects the brain
Until now, however, the researchers have mainly focused on infections in later life stages. “We were able to show for the first time that chronic inflammation, which occurs early in life as a result of a viral pathogen, decisively influences changes in the brain in old age,” said Alberi Auber. The results were recently published in the journal Brain, Behavior, & Immunity.

To study the connection, the researchers have developed a new mouse model that works with a special polymer called PolyI:C. The molecule acts as a kind of pseudo-virus to which the organism reacts in the same way as a viral infection.

The mice were injected twice with PolyI:C, once before birth during maternal pregnancy and the second time in adulthood. The researchers then studied the effects of the inflammatory response on the brain over the lifespan of the mice.

Source: Krone

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