One of the proteins linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease has previously undiscovered qualities that could be targeted in new treatments for the disease.
That is the view of a team of researchers from King's College London, which have been investigating the role tau plays in the development of the condition. Their research is published in the latest edition of the EMBO Reports journal.
Scientists from the university discovered the molecule is not only released as a by-product of cell death, but is also emitted by some healthy neurons.
Tau helps to maintain the structure of brain cells, but becomes altered and causes damage in an Alzheimer's brain. It begins to build up in nerve cells and contributes to neurodegeneration.
Dr Diane Hanger from the Department of Neuroscience at the university said: "We believe that targeting the release of tau could be explored as a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias."
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