August 14, 2018 – pH and Alzheimer’s


Anchor lead: Having an acidic environment inside some cells in the brain may be a factor in Alzheimer’s disease, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Cells in your body have a variety of compartments within them, one of which is called an endosome. Rajini Rao and colleagues at Johns Hopkins, have furthered research based on an observation about endosomes in people with Alzheimer’s.

Rao: Endosomes, which are these small, cargo carrying compartments in the cell, were larger and more numerous in the cells of patients with Alzheimer’s disease compared to the age-matched control people.   :14

Turns out that a gene defect renders the endosome too acidic, and therefore unable to do its job that helps remove amyloid in the brain, and this may be important in Alzheimer’s. Rao says a known class of drugs called histone acetylase inhbitors may help.

Rao: It opens up the potential to use these histone acetylase inhibitors, which are FDA approved to treat certain kinds of blood cancers, so it’s possible we could repurpose them to treat Alzheimer’s.   :14

Rao notes that barriers to using these drugs remain, but she’s hopeful newer drug delivery technologies may help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.