University of Coimbra scientists identify brain region with potential for early change in Alzheimer’s disease
A multidisciplinary team of scientists from the University of Coimbra (UC) and the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra (CHUC), coordinated by Miguel Castelo-Branco (UC) and Isabel Santana (CHUC), discovered a triple brain pathology hotspot in Alzheimer’s disease. The finding may have very relevant implications for future therapies, as it clearly identifies a brain target of early impairment, implicated in memory loss, which can be studied directly and in a targeted manner in new therapeutic trials.
Miguel Castelo-Branco, a researcher at the Faculty of Medicine and the Center for Biomedical Imaging and Translational Research at the Institute of Nuclear Sciences Applied to Health at the University of Coimbra, reveals that the discovery paves the way “for the development and testing therapies”. aimed at reducing neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease”.
The brain region identified is called the posterior cingulate and shows, in very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, unique tripartite changes: neuronal inflammation, amyloid accumulation and apparently compensatory neuronal activity. “The region identified is critical, as it serves as a pivot in the short- and long-term memory processes that are known to be crucially affected in Alzheimer’s disease,” recalls the UC researcher.
This finding in the human brain was demonstrated in vivo using a set of advanced functional and brain imaging techniques: dual PET (which measures neuroinflammation and amyloid deposition in the same patient) and magnetic resonance imaging functional to measure brain activity in memory tasks. This study brought together people in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and healthy people with the same sociodemographic characteristics.
The research also involved the participation of Nádia Canário and Lília Jorge, the study’s first authors, and Ricardo Martins, researchers at the Center for Biomedical Imaging and Translational Research at the Institute of Applied Nuclear Sciences in Health. ‘UC. The research results are available in the scientific paper “Dual PET-fMRI Reveals a Link Between Neuroinflammation, Amyloid Binding, and Compensatory Task-Related Brain Activity in Alzheimer’s Disease,” now published in the journal Communications Biology.