For years, scientists have been looking at the Klotho protein because of its potential ability to slow the aging process. Now, it appears that there might be a link between this protein and Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study was conducted by the Boston University School of Medicine. The researchers found that the Klotho protein could delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The research study was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and the researchers found that neurons that were treated with Klotho, the anti-aging protein, had a much lower risk of death.
Specifically, in Alzheimer’s disease, neurons are prone to death because they are exposed to high levels of amyloid proteins and glutamate. When these neurons die, it contributes to the development of dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, when these neurons were exposed to the Klotho protein, they had a greater ability to stand up to greater levels of amyloid protein and glutamate.
During their research experiment, scientists placed neurons in two separate Petri dishes. One Petri dish was protected using the Klotho protein. The other Petri dish did not receive this type of protection. Then, both Petri dishes were exposed to amyloid protein and glutamate. The researchers found that neurons in the Petri dish that were protected by the Klotho protein had a much easier time surviving the amyloid protein and glutamate exposure than those that did not.
The research study is important because it shows that the Klotho protein might be able to protect neurons from being damaged by mechanisms that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Essentially, this shows that there could be preventative therapy available to help those who are at a greater risk of developing this condition. Right now, the protein is unable to penetrate the blood-brain barrier because of its large size. Therefore, scientists will need to discover another way to administer this protein to the neurons in the brain. If the protein can be administered using tiny molecules, it could benefit individuals who are at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
More tests have to be completed before this can be an effective therapy for those who are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s.