(ORDO NEWS) — American researchers have found out why neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as apathy, mood swings, anxiety and irritability, appear in most patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, even before the onset of memory loss.
The most famous and noticeable symptom in the development of Alzheimer’s disease is a memory disorder that progresses over time until its partial or complete loss, both short-term and long-term.
However, in the early stages, patients also experience neuropsychiatric symptoms, including apathy, anxiety, irritability, and some of the symptoms of depression.
Since effective treatments for adverse symptoms have not yet been found, they greatly worsen the condition and reduce the quality of life of patients, and in addition, complicate the process of caring for them.
A new study from the Indiana University School of Medicine (USA) focused on the nucleus accumbens , a group of neurons in the ventral striatum that plays an important role in the cognitive processing of motivation, aversion, and reward.
During the study of neurons in the nucleus accumbens, the researchers found CP-AMPA receptors that are not characteristic of this part of the brain. This receptor is located at synapses (where two neurons meet) and normally allows calcium ions to enter neurons.
The accumulation of calcium triggers a cascade of intracellular changes, which, however, can be lethal to the neuron (especially if it does not have CP-AMPA receptors), increasing calcium overload through a positive feedback mechanism.
Apparently, it is the loss of neurons during this process that may be responsible for the lack of motivation and other neuropsychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Therefore, according to the authors, by acting on these receptors in the brain and blocking them, it is possible to prevent or delay the onset of the development of side symptoms associated with a neurodegenerative disease, and ultimately alleviate the fight against the main problems – cognitive deficits and memory loss.
“If we can delay the progression of pathology in one of the affected areas, such as the nucleus accumbens, it can delay pathological changes in other areas of the brain,” concludes Yao- Ying Ma , MD, assistant professor of pharmacology. and Toxicology at the Indiana University School of Medicine and senior author of the study.
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