In the imagination and in fact, Alzheimer's disease is defined by neuronal degeneration. A new study completely rejects the idea that this pathology involves a predominant loss of neurons.
Frequently encountered in the elderly, Alzheimer's disease is considered a neurodegenerative disease. This means that it is accompanied by a significant and progressive loss of neurons and their nerve endings. A French-Canadian study published in Scientific Reports now contests this point of view.
"To our surprise, studying the fate of eight neuronal and synaptic markers in the prefrontal cortex of our subjects, we observed only very minor neuronal and synaptic losses," says Dr. El Mestikawy, lead author of the study. . Contrary to what we thought, neuronal and synaptic loss is relatively limited.
Towards other treatments
Scientists have also attempted to correlate all these minor synaptic losses with the subjects' level of dementia. Their results show that decreases in synaptic biomarkers had little impact on participants' cognitive skills.
The study implicitly suggests that dementia is associated with synaptic dysfunction rather than the disappearance of synapses in the patient's cortex. Identifying this dysfunction could lead to the development of effective treatments for this disease.
Until now, therapeutic interventions have been aimed at slowing down synaptic destruction and, according to the study, the therapeutic approach will have to be modified.