Scientists in Portugal have found a genetic sequence in mice that could be a new treatment target for Alzheimer’s disease.
The team from the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC), Coimbra, in collaboration with Liverpool University, UK, identified a microRNA - little genetic sequences with a regulatory role in our cells – with beneficial effects in animal models of Alzheimer’s.
Using only female mice, it was shown that animals expressing microRNA-31 had decreased levels of the toxic elements, characteristic of this disease, in the region of the brain responsible for memory.
Ana Luísa Cardoso, of CNC, explained the importance of using female animals in this study given that Alzheimer’s is much more prevalent in women, while the majority of the studies have been carried out in male animals.
Next steps might mean studies of other roles of the microRNA in different animal models which could be more easily compared to humans.