Memory Loss Reversed in Alzheimer's Disease

Injections of nanoliposomes reversed memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease in mouse models.

Researchers recently restored memory in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease through a technique that uses tiny fat droplets to carry drugs into the brain. This technique has also been used for targeted cancer treatments.

The nanoliposomes are able to inhibit amyloid proteins from creating plaques, which are characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published by Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine.

When the endoplasmic reticulum finds misfolding errors, it recruits other proteins to catch the misfolded proteins. If the misfolded proteins are not caught before they reach the bloodstream, they can form toxic clusters, called amyloid deposits, which can occur in the heart, liver, retina, or other organs. These deposits lead to tissue degeneration, including brain damage.

In the study, mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease received nanoliposome injections for 3 weeks. Investigators found the mice that received the drug regained their long-term memory, and were able to recognize familiar objects within 24 hours.

Mice who only received the placebo injection did not regain memory, or objects they saw the previous day, according to the study.

“Following results this summer, there is renewed optimism for antibody drugs -- treatments that harness the body's immune system to target amyloid plaques. However, if these prove successful, treatments will have to be administered in a clinic by an IV drip and could have some potentially harmful side effects,” said lead researcher David Allsop, PhD, BSc. “Using nanoliposomes offers an alternative way to inhibit the toxic build-up of amyloid plaques without activating an immune response in the brain. Our hope is that this could one day be administered by something as simple and non-invasive as a nasal spray, which patients could use in the comfort of their own home."

Currently, the only treatment options patients have are to control their symptoms without slowing the progression of the disease. Other recent studies have shown that nanoliposomes can pass into the brain through the nose.

Those findings and the current findings could potentially lead to nasal spray drugs for diseases that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the study concluded.