Alzheimer disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive cognitive decline, with impairment in multiple cognitive domains including memory, executive function, and language.The most common form of dementia, AD accounts for between 60% and 80% of total dementia cases worldwide.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death among older adults. The exact causes of AD are still unknown, but the main reason for this dementia may be the presence of two big molecules in the brain called “tau” and “amyloid proteins”. The aggregation of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) has been implicated as a contributor to the formation of neuritic plaques, which are pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
As therapeutics for AD, a suggested strategy uses metal-based complexes to reduce the toxicity of amyloid beta (Aβ), which can be hydrolyzed using a crystal structure called tetra-N methylated cyclam (TMC). (Hydrolysis is the process that uses water molecules to split other molecules apart.) The TMC structure uses external water to effectively break the binding of amyloid-beta protein.
According to the study, the following four metals (cobalt, nickel, copper and zinc) were placed at the center of the TMC structure. The cobalt-based metal complex (Co (II)(TMC)) had the potential to penetrate the blood brain barrier, and hydrolysis activity for non-amyloid protein was low. When the double-layered cobalt was added to the center, the hydrolysis activity for amyloid-beta protein was at its highest.
“This material has a high therapeutic potential in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease as it can penetrate the brain-vascular barrier and directly interact with the amyloid-beta protein in the brain,” says Professor Lim, who led the research team.
It’s now important for us to build on and replicate these findings in larger studies to reach an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.