New hope for Alzheimer’s treatment

Taipei Medical University leads the world in new discoveries with publications in internationally renowned journals

Source: College of Medical Science and Technology

Published on 2021-07-21

The global Alzheimer’s population continues to rise rapidly.

The Taiwan Alzheimer’s Disease Association estimates that one out of every 80 people has dementia in Taiwan. According to the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), the global Alzheimer’s population will grow up to 152 million people by 2050. This means that there will be one person suffering from Alzheimer’s in every 3 seconds; no effective medicine has been found in current.

A research team comprising members from Taipei Medical University, the National Health Research Institutes and the Tri-Service General Hospital has found that immune chemokines (CCL5) can regulate the activity of hippocampal neurons in mice to improve the memory circuits formation, as well as learning and memory ability. This research was recently published in the top neuroscience journal, Molecular Psychiatry, under the world-renowned Nature series.

Associate Professor Szu-Yi Chou (周思怡) (3rd row, 1st on the right) and the research team

Associate Professor Szu-Yi Chou (周思怡) from the Ph.D. Program for Neural Regenerative Medicine at TMU pointed out that 90% of the CCL5 expressed by neurons in the hippocampal gyrus, where is response for memory formation. Study found that CCL5 greatly affects the aerobic metabolism in neurons and contributes to memory-cognition performance in mice. This suggests that CCL5 plays a pivotal role in the regulation of neuronal energy and affects the immediate energy supply during the process of memory formation.

Associate Professor Szu-Yi Chou (周思怡) reiterated that a direct use of immune chemokines for treatment may bring high risks and is therefore not the best solution. Future research mainly further identify applicable drugs that are based on the mechanism, such as finding safe drugs that can increase the function of CCL5 in order to achieve the effect of improving learning and memory.

The research found that the lack of immune chemokines affects brain memory and learning ability. The diagram on the left shows decline in learning and memory, and the diagram on the right shows increase in learning and memory.