Team in Shiga finds protein that may lead to Alzheimer’s treatment


Researchers have identified a protein that suppresses the production of amyloid beta, a substance that develops into plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The ILEI protein cuts production of amyloid beta in the brain by breaking down its precursor, they said in a paper published Wednesday in the British science journal Nature Communications.

“With further research, new preventive methods and treatments without significant side effects may be developed,” said Masaki Nishimura, associate professor at Shiga University of Medical Science, who led the study. The team also found that the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers contain half the normal amount of ILEI, also known as FAM3 superfamily member C.

The team compared two groups of transgenic mice predisposed to Alzheimer’s. One was genetically engineered to produce larger amounts of ILEI than ordinary mice, while the other was not. The mice with more ILEI were later found to have smaller amounts of amyloid beta in their brains. Incidents of Alzheimer’s disease were accordingly reduced.