Dr. Mark Mattson’s team at the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program added substantial proof that senolytics, the golden child of anti-aging drugs, rescue memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease, at least in mice genetically engineered to accumulate amyloid clumps in their brains.
With age, the toxic proteins damaged a particular type of brain cell called OPCs, causing them to transform into cellular monsters that trigger inflammation in the brain.
After weekly treatments with the drugs for barely three months, the team found fewer zombie OPC cells gathered around amyloid clumps in the mice’s brains. The treatment also disintegrated the clumps in memory-related regions, and—perhaps more importantly—the brains were no longer inflamed. In a series of memory tests, the treated mice regained their ability to learn and memorize complex mazes.
“Our findings pave the way for future preclinical and clinical studies that will test the hypothesis that senolytic therapies can … preserve brain function in [Alzheimer’s] and other age-related neurodegenerative disorders,” the authors concluded.
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