TMU’s research indicates hope for Alzheimer’s treatment

Associate Professor Szu-Yi Chou (周思怡) (3rd row, 1st on the right) and the research team
The global Alzheimer’s population continues to rise rapidly. The Taiwan Alzheimer’s Disease Association estimates that one out of every 80 people has dementia in Taiwan. According to the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), the global Alzheimer’s population will grow up to 152 million people by 2050. This means that there will be one person suffering from Alzheimer’s in every 3 seconds; no effective medicine has been found in current.
A research team comprising members from Taipei Medical University (TMU), the National Health Research Institutes and the Tri-Service General Hospital has found that immune chemokines (CCL5) can regulate the activity of hippocampal neurons in mice to improve the memory circuits formation, as well as learning and memory ability. This research was recently published in the top neuroscience journal, Molecular Psychiatry, under the world-renowned Nature series.
Associate Professor Szu-Yi Chou from the Ph.D. Program for Neural Regenerative Medicine at TMU pointed out that 90% of the CCL5 is expressed by neurons in the hippocampal gyrus, where there is a response for memory formation. The study found that CCL5 greatly affects the aerobic metabolism in neurons and contributes to memory-cognition performance in mice. This suggests that CCL5 plays a pivotal role in the regulation of neuronal energy and affects the immediate energy supply during the process of memory formation.
Associate Professor Szu-Yi Chou reiterated that direct use of immune chemokines for treatment may bring high risks and is therefore not the best solution. Future research mainly further identifies applicable drugs that are based on the mechanism, such as finding safe drugs that can increase the function of CCL5 in order to achieve the effect of improving learning and memory.