A study has shown that the increase of the brain enzyme called puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase, which is the most abundant brain peptidase seen in mammals, can slow the harmful accumulation of toxic tau proteins, which ultimately result in neurofibrillary tangles, a key pathological characteristic of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
Researchers discovered that in animal models, puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase could safely be increased by 2 to 3 times the normal amount, which resulted in the removal of the tau proteins from the neurons. The removal of the tau proteins resulted in the restoration of neuronal density and slowed the progression of the disease. Researchers found no abnormalities as a result of the increasing of puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase, indicating that elevating puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase activity could be a possible approach for treating Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
The study showed that the build up of toxic tau protein can be effectively blocked by the increase of puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase, resulting in the slowing down of neural degeneration with no harmful side effects. These results indicate that the increase of this natural brain peptidase could be a viable therapeutic approach for eliminating the build up of unwanted toxic proteins like tau, which result in the neural degeneration connected to the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
2 to 4 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and these numbers are predicted to increase to as much as 14 million by the middle of the 21st century due to the aging population.