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Could Stress Play a Role in Alzheimer's?
Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 9:41 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

From Alzheimer's Daily News:

(Source: Scientific American) - New research points to acute or chronic stress as a potential contributors to the complications involved in Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the development of two proteins: beta-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. This study focuses on neurofibrillary tangles, or NFTs, which are made up of aggregates of a protein called tau. These tangles in brain cells correlate with the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's (though as yet there is no definitive proof that they cause Alzheimer's).

Stress has been linked to the development of many psychiatric diseases. During times of physical or psychological stress, the hypothalamus of the brain releases corticotropin releasing hormone . Corticotropin releasing hormone stimulates CRF receptors which promote the release of the stress hormone cortisol. And it turns out they may have something to do with the tau proteins in Alzheimer's disease.

To look at the link between stress and tau proteins, the authors of this study subjected a group of mice to an acute stress that can increase levels of phosphorylated tau, which is the first step to causing tau to aggregate, and which could play a role in creating the neurofibrillary tangles present in Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers deduced that if you give an antagonist to CRF 1 (which blocks the ability of corticotropin releasing factor to activate the CRF 1 receptor), you can block the effects of acute and chronic stress, as long as you give it during the stress exposure. What this suggests is not only that the CRF 1 receptor may play a role in how stress could increase phosphorylated tau, it also could be a good drug target, to try and stop the effects of stress on this protein.

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Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 10:18 AM
Joined: 3/23/2012
Posts: 17

In addcition to all of the marvelous research I would like to add my personal vieew point.


Stress (good or bad) is my worst enemy. It causes extreme confusion and rage in me.