Cell Trends in Molecular Medicine: 'Culprit' of Alzheimer's is linked to calcium deposits in aorta, study suggests

June 10, 2024  12:35

In Alzheimer's disease, toxic amyloid proteins form in the brain. In a new study, scientists found that its accumulation in the aorta—the largest blood vessel—contributes to its narrowing. The results of this research were published in the journal Cell Trends in Molecular Medicine.

During calcification of the aortic valve, microcrystals of the mineral hydroxyapatite accumulate in it. And this leads to heart failure.

After the diagnosis of the disease, most patients live no more than two years. The only treatment is aortic valve replacement, which, however, is not suitable for all patients.

In a new study, scientists detected—using electron microscopy—amyloid protein in the aortic valve tissues of patients. They hypothesize that high levels of "bad" cholesterol—low-density lipoprotein—may create the conditions for amyloid to build up. It, in turn, becomes the basis for hydroxyapatite crystals.

This finding could mean that drugs against amyloid build-up could be useful not only for people with Alzheimer's disease, but also for people with aortic valve calcification.

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