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A team led by a Portuguese scientist has discovered a protein that delays the development of Alzheimer's disease

A team led by a Portuguese scientist has discovered a protein that delays the development of Alzheimer’s disease

A team of scientists led by Claudio Gomez, of the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Science (FCUL), has discovered that S100B acts on the tau protein, delaying the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research was conducted by scientists from I3S – Institute for Research and Innovation in Health, University of Porto, University of Lille in France, University of Hohenheim, Germany, and University of Texas, USA and was published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

They concluded that S100B acts on the tau protein, “whose toxic deposition in the brain is associated with various types of dementia and the progressive stage of Alzheimer’s disease,” he said in a statement to FCUL about work done with cultures. of bacterial cells that have been genetically engineered to express human proteins produced in the laboratory.

In the opinion of the study authors, the findings have implications for Alzheimer’s disease, considering that “the emergence of cognitive symptoms and dementia is associated with damage caused by tangles of tau protein and the spread of pathology to multiple areas of the brain.”

“This study reveals a new biological protective mechanism, relevant in the early stages of the disease, that becomes ineffective over time as toxic substances accumulate in the brain,” said Claudio Gomez, who in Lusa’s remarks. The hypothesis “that his team is working on” is that the “S100B” protein will have protective functions against the accumulation of the protein in the stage before the onset of symptoms of the disease, but “changes already occur in the brain cells” (neurons) and “the build-up of deposits” of the proteins “as part of of an early inflammatory response.

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At work, the researchers hope that understanding the function and protective effect of proteins such as “S100B” will lead to the development of drugs with “therapeutic potential”, which work in a similar way.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia that causes progressive and irreversible damage to many cognitive functions, with Portugal being the fourth most diagnosed dementia, according to the OECD Health Profile “2017”.