IL-33 ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease-like pathology and cognitive decline

Research Highlight

Immune therapy shows promise against Alzheimer’s

© Letizia Le Fur/ONOKY/Getty

© Letizia Le Fur/ONOKY/Getty

Alzheimer’s-like symptoms and cognitive decline were reversed in mice injected with an immune-activating molecule called interleukin-33. The therapeutic strategy, described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA , will soon be tested on humans.

A team from China and the United Kingdom, including a researcher from Zhejiang University, injected mouse models of Alzheimer’s with interleukin-33, an immune protein known to be scarce in the brains of people with the devastating neurodegenerative condition. These mice performed better on memory tests and had less of the toxic beta-amyloid protein in their brains compared to placebo-treated controls. The interleukin therapy also reduced the brain inflammation that is thought to hasten the disease process.

Although human trials are needed, the research suggests a promising way to boost the immune system to help combat Alzheimer’s, for which there is no effective treatment.

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  1. PNAS 113, E2705–E2713 (2016). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1604032113
Institutions FC WFC
Division of Life Science, HKUST, China 0.27 0.27
State Key Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience, HKUST, China 0.27 0.27
Molecular Neuroscience Center (MNC), HKUST, China 0.27 0.27
Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University (SAHZU), ZJU, China 0.09 0.09
School of Biology and Basic Medical Sciences, Soochow University, China 0.05 0.05
Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation (III), University of Glasgow, United Kingdom (UK) 0.05 0.05

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