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Are hamsters the key to a means of protecting against Alzheimer's?


Hamsters break down protein deposits during hibernation

Hamsters could help to better understand the causes of Alzheimer's disease and open up new possibilities for protection against the disease. Physicians have now found that when rodents hibernate, their brains go through structural changes that help completely break down dangerous clumps of protein deposits.

In their current study, the scientists at the CEU San Pablo University in Madrid found that hamsters break down protein clumps that are typical of Alzheimer's through their hibernation. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Proteome Research".

Hibernation leads to structural changes in the brain in hamsters

When hamsters hibernate, their brains go through various structural changes that help their neurons survive at low temperatures. These changes also appear to promote the breakdown of protein clumps. The researchers hope that further studies will help to decipher the exact processes in the brain of hibernators during hibernation, which protect against the protein deposits that are typical of Alzheimer's disease. It is estimated that over 1.7 million people in Germany alone suffer from dementia. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia.

A Syrian hamster species was selected for the investigation

The researchers chose to analyze the Syrian hamster species Mesocricetus auratus because it only hibernates for three to four days when exposed to cold or darkness. When the rodents were examined before, during, and after hibernation, the scientists found that 337 substances had changed in the hamsters while the animals were taking their longer deep sleep.

What changed from hibernation in hibernation?

The changing substances include, for example, amino acids and chemicals that protect the brain from freezing. A group of lipids, known as long-chain ceramides, which could help protect against brain damage, showed markedly higher concentrations during hibernation in the hamsters compared to animals that had awakened recently. The biggest change, however, was in a substance called phosphatidic acid, which was five times as concentrated in hibernated animals compared to the normal state.

How does phosphatidic acid affect tau protein?

It is known that phosphatidic acid is related to the deposition of tau protein in the brain, the doctors explain. The current study made it clear that the Syrian hamsters are an excellent model for studying substances that could possibly help to protect the neurons. (as)

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Video: What Is Alzheimers Disease? (November 2021).