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Alzheimer's: the bloodtrack – Radio Miter


Radio France Internationale documentHealth and Wellbeing

February 21, 2019

What if Alzheimer's had emerged from the capillary blood of the brain? Interdisciplinary research focuses on this "bloodtrack" and opens new possibilities, at the level of diagnosis and treatments in the future, revolutionizing the world of medicine, because so far Alzheimer's was considered to have no vascular origins. Neutrophils, a type of leukocyte, would be responsible for preventing these small blood bites, sticking to their walls.

Arteriography reveals brain circulation.
Arteriography reveals brain circulation. – © BSIP

Generally, Alzheimer's is considered to be related with the collection in the brain of two proteins: protein amyloid beta and protein tau.

But the bloodtrack it could also explain the origin of this neuro-treatment disease that affects more than 35 million people in the world. And in more detail, study the microscopic network of blood vessels which feeds the brain.

These capillaries are ten times thinner than hair, are blocked in the early stages of the disease, by adhering to their walls and neutrophils, which is a type of leukocyte of the immune system.

This is what we wanted to study in the interdisciplinary project Brain MicroFlow, Micro Liquid and Brain, where they are associated with them CNRS Scientists, the French Center for Scientific and Major Research Cornell University in the United States.

This project was awarded the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) award in 2014, which allowed to fund innovative research for five years.

The results of this research were presented to the journal Nature Neurosciences on February 11, 2019.

Post-mortem human brain microscopic blood pipes.
Post-mortem human brain microscopic blood pipes. – © F.LAUWERS / INSERM

In fact, patients are estimated to have them Alzheimer's higher, the reduction in the bloodstream in the brain is 30%. To give us an idea, this flow reduction is the equivalent of when we suddenly get up and feel a dish, because there is a lack of blood in the brain.

This decrease in the bloodstream In the case of Alzheimer's disease, it was already known for some years, but his mechanism was not known, believing that this blood drops in the brain result of the disease and not the opposite, as one of the possible causes of the beginning of this disease.

RFI spoke to Jean Carlos Cruz Hernández, a biomedical engineer, currently at Harvard University, but who previously led the research in live mouse models at Cornell University to explore this track.

These investigations offer new clues during the early diagnosis of the disease and in future treatments.

It should be noted that another part of the research is carried out by researchers from the CNRS, the Scientific Research Center of France, in particular, especially by the researcher Sylvie Lorthois, o Toulouse Mechanical Fluid Foundation, creating nanomodels to study liquid mechanics in very thin tubes and in a database of post-mortem human brain that allows us to study the microscopic tissues of the brain's blood vessels.

Models to simulate the thin blood capillaries and observe the circulation of red blood cells.
Models to simulate the thin blood capillaries and observe the circulation of red blood cells. – © A.MERLO / IMFT

Interviewer: Jean Carlos Cruz Hernández, a biomedical engineer who conducted the research at Cornell University (United States) and currently at Harvard University.


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