However, when the same number of pulses was distributed in high-frequency bursts, researchers discovered an increased amyloid-beta 40 production.

In addition, the researchers found that only synapses optimized to transfer encoded by bursts contributed towards tipping the balance in favor of amyloid-beta 40. Further investigations conducted by the researchers revealed that the connection between spiking patterns and the type of amyloid-beta produced could revolve around a protein called presenilin.

The researchers hypothesize that changes in the temporal patterns of spikes in the hippocampus may trigger structural changes in the presenilin, leading to early memory impairments in people with sporadic Alzheimer’s.

According to the researchers, different kinds of environmental changes and experiences – including sensory and emotional experience – can modify the properties of synapses and change the spiking patterns in the brain. Previous research has suggested that a stimulant-rich environment could be a contributing factor in preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease, much as crossword and similar puzzles appear to stimulate the brain and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

In the recent study, the researchers discovered that changes in sensory experiences also regulate synaptic properties – leading to an increase in amyloid-beta 40.

Hila Milshtein, Yevgeny Berdichevsky, and Neta Gazit of Dr. Slutsky's lab at TAU, and Noa Lipstein and Nils Brose of the Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine in Germany, also contributed to this work.

To see the original article, click here

Reprinted with permission of American Friends of Tel Aviv University.

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