Science + Technology

UCLA and HBRI Scientists Isolate Chemical Found in Curry That May Help Immune System Clear Amyloid Plaques Found in Alzheimer’s Disease



Researchershave isolated bisdemethoxycurcumin, an ingredient in curcumin that may help theimmune system clear the amyloid beta that forms the plaques found inAlzheimer's disease. Curcumin is a natural substance found in tumeric root,frequently used in Indian curries. Using blood samples of Alzheimer's patients,researchers found that bisdemethoxycurcumin boosted immune cells called macrophagesto clear amyloid beta. In addition, researchers identified the immune genes — MGATIII and Toll-like receptors — associated with this activity.


Thestudy provides insight into the role of the immune system in Alzheimer'sdisease and points to a new treatment approach. Researchers say that it may bepossible to test a patient's immune response with a blood sample in order toindividualize treatment. The results also suggest a new drug-developmentapproach for the disease that differs from the amyloid-beta vaccine; this newapproach relies on the innate immune system, which is present at birth, ratherthan on antibodies produced by B cells — part of the active immune system thatdevelops later.


Dr.Milan Fiala, a researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA andthe Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Health Care System, and Dr. JohnCashman, director of the Human BioMolecular Research Institute (HBRI) in San Diego are availablefor interviews.


Theresearch appears in the July 16 early edition of the journal Proceedings of theNational Academy of Sciences.


Cashmanreceived study funding from the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation and Fialafrom the Alzheimer's Disease Association.



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