The Potential Microbial Roots of Neurodegenerative Conditions: A Focus on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis
A recent study by Baylor College of Medicine has shed light on the potential link between fungal infections in the brain and Alzheimer’s disease. The research, conducted on animal models, reveals how the fungus Candida albicans can enter the brain, activate clearance mechanisms, and generate toxic protein fragments similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s disease.
- The fungus Candida albicans can enter the brain by producing enzymes called secreted aspartic proteases (Saps) that break down the blood-brain barrier.
- Once in the brain, Candida albicans activates two separate mechanisms in microglial brain cells that promote its clearance.
- The same Saps also break down the amyloid precursor protein into amyloid beta (Ab)-like peptides.
- These peptides activate microglial brain cells via a cell surface receptor called Toll-like receptor 4.
- The activation of these cells helps to keep the fungal load low in the brain but does not clear the infection.
According to Cleveland Clinic, Blastomyces, a type of fungus that commonly infects bones, skin, and lungs, can rarely infect your brain and spinal cord.
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