Breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease linked by BRCA1
It’s known that BRCA1 is associated with breast cancer, but new research suggests that lowered levels of BRCA1 protein in the brain could also be associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
BRCA1 helps to repair DNA. Researchers suspected that problems with DNA repair were to blame for cognitive problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease, so they turned to mice to help them investigate.
Scientists found lowered levels of BRCA1 in brains of human Alzheimer’s patients who had died. When levels of BRCA1 were lowered in mouse brains, the animals had a harder time learning and remembering. And Alzheimer’s mouse models were affected by a reduction of BRCA1 even more than their ‘normal’ counterparts. It seems that the presence of beta-amyloid proteins (found in brains affected by Alzheimer’s) lowers BRCA1, which means that DNA repair is affected, and this then leads to dementia.
Could this research lead to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease in humans? More importantly, could it lead to new treatments? Read more about it here.