Enzyme Expression May Provide Alzheimer's Disease Treatment Target

Lysozyme expression may be an early predictor of Alzheimer’s disease.

Recent findings from a study suggest that increased expression of an enzyme may be a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

The enzyme, lysozyme, is known to protect against bacterial infection by attacking the protective walls of bacteria. Lysozyme is able to break down the bacteria’s cell wall, causing them to burst.

Lysozyme also attempts to counteract a build-up of amyloid in the brain, according to a study published by The FEBS Journal. A build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain can lead to irreversible memory loss that is characteristic of the disease.

The initial amyloid plaques can take decades to create, but the process is more rapid after the initial formation. Scientists in the study have found high expression of lysozyme in the brains of transgenic mice and humans with Alzheimer’s disease.

They also discovered that this enzyme expression has a beneficial effect in fly models of the disease. These findings may suggest a novel clinical marker of the disease, and could also be used to create a more effective treatment strategy.

“These findings are exceptionally interesting since lysozyme also rescued transgenic Alzheimer flies with the 'Arctic' mutation, a familial aggressive form of Alzheimer's disease,” said senior author of the study Dr Katarina Kagedal.