Two viruses, varicella-zoster (VVZ) and human herpes (HSV 1), may be one of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers from Tufts University in the United States and Oxford University in the United Kingdom report in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Desease.
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the malfunctioning of two proteins, ß-amyloid and Tau, which act on neurons, destroying their structure and blocking the passage of electrical impulses by combining the plaques in their myelin sheaths.
For researchers, in addition to genetic and hereditary characteristics, two viruses acting together in the nervous system may play an important role in the emergence of the disease.
The joint effect of VVZ, which causes diseases such as chickenpox, HSV 1, on neuronal cells caused a condition very similar to Alzheimer’s in the experiment.
For the experiment, the scientists created structures made with silk and collagen to simulate brain structures and grafted them with stem cells that develop into neurons and glial cells.
With the prepared environment, some systems were infected with only one virus, and some with both viruses.
Both pathogens have the ability to remain dormant in cells for long periods of time, and during observation, the researchers noticed that in cells with latent traces of HSV 1, the virus was aroused by VZV infection.
Co-infection with viruses that do not normally cause serious health damage on their own caused the same dysfunction of ß-amyloid and Tau proteins in neurons observed in Alzheimer’s disease.
But neuroscientists around the world say it’s impossible to say that co-infection with the VZV and HSV 1 viruses can actually cause Alzheimer’s, despite this important discovery.
According to them, the model used to simulate the human brain is not sufficient and this may have caused interference in the experiment. Also, the protein dysfunction may have been caused by infection rather than by viruses directly.
But despite the differences, research will continue.
ARTICLE Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease: DOI:.10.3233/JAD-220287
Source: Tec Mundo
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