Because Alzheimer’s affects women more often and more severely

One of the great mysteries surrounding Alzheimer’s, hitherto incurable, is why 70 percent of those affected are women and why the course is, on average, more severe for them than for men. Now it is said that a certain hormone should be responsible for this – this is indicated by experiments with rodents. A team led by neuroscientist Keqiang Ye of Emory University School of Medicine published their findings in a study in the journal Nature.

Just before the last menstrual period in a woman’s life – this is when menopause begins – the pituitary gland releases more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). At the same time, the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s often appear. Estrogen from the ovaries, on the other hand, which has long been mistaken for a possible trigger for dementia, remains constant at that time. Ye and his colleagues hypothesize that FSH interacts with the C / EBPβ / AEP signaling pathway, which is critical for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. To test their theory, the team removed the ovaries from lab mice with dementia and then used the antibodies to block FSH. As the team was able to show, this inactivated the signaling pathway in nerve cells.

Not only that: the plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s mice have withdrawn, and the cognitive symptoms have also disappeared. In another series of experiments, the team injected FSH into both female and male rodents. This in turn made the disease worse and plaques formed in the hippocampus and other regions. The results indicate that FSH plays an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s through the C / EBPβ / AEP signaling pathway. Since men also secrete more FSH as they age, researchers hope to be able to test a treatment for both sexes that uses this hormone in the future.

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