Iron Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

BOSTON, Oct. 8 (UPI) — Iron is involved in the production of brain-destroying plaques found in Alzheimer’s patients, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, led by Dr. Jack Rogers, report a link between levels of iron in the brain and the production of amyloid precursor protein that can break down into a peptide, making up the destructive plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, suggest under healthy conditions iron and the amyloid precursor protein keep each other in check. Too much iron causes the protein and a partner molecule to develop and to escort excess iron out but too little iron can cause too little of the escort molecule to be made and for iron to accumulate.

Rogers says in a statement that their work — including information about the role of messenger RNA — paves the way for the development of drugs to help restore the brain’s iron balance.

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