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How chronic stress accelerates Alzheimer’s disease

Date:
March 14, 2013
Source:
Ume universitet
Summary:
Why does chronic stress lead to increased risk for dementia? The answer may lie in the elevation of stress steroids that is seen in the brain during stress, a researcher suggests.

Why does chronic stress lead to increased risk for dementia? The answer may lie in the elevation of stress steroids that is seen in the brain during stress, Sara K. Bengtsson suggests in the thesis she is defending at Ume University in Sweden on March 22nd.

These stress steroids can inhibit the general brain activity. Allopregnanolon is one of them, and the doctoral thesis shows that chronically elevated levels of allopregnanolone accelerated the disease development in two transgenic Alzheimer disease models. The Alzheimer mice responded with impaired learning and memory. They had also increased brain levels of beta-amyloids, i.e. the proteins that form plaques in Alzheimer's disease.

The thesis also demonstrates that high levels of beta-amyloids corresponded to dysfunction among brain synapses. This was seen after a period of chronically elevated levels of allopregnanolon, but not after placebo treatment. The effects were identified early in the disease development when the animals normally have intact memory function. A similar acceleration of AD in humans could mean the difference between living self-sufficiently at home and living with requirements of professional care.

Sara K. Bengtsson was born in Malm, Sweden, and completed her pre-university graduation in Ystad. Professionally, Sara K. Bengtsson has worked in various fields and in 2008 she completed her Master's degree in medicine with a major in biomedicine at Ume University, Sweden, where she now is a postgraduate student at the Department of Clinical Sciences, division of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

On Friday, March 22nd, Sara K. Bengtsson, Department of Clinical Sciences, Ume University, is publicly defending her thesis with the title Stress steroids as accelerators of Alzheimer's disease. Effects of chronically elevated levels of allopregnanolone in transgenic AD models.

Read the thesis or abstract at: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66572


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ume universitet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ume universitet. "How chronic stress accelerates Alzheimer’s disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314085049.htm>.
Ume universitet. (2013, March 14). How chronic stress accelerates Alzheimer’s disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314085049.htm
Ume universitet. "How chronic stress accelerates Alzheimer’s disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130314085049.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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