The study revealed a direct link between the main culprit of Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. The researchers proved brain protein as the main culprit for the progress of dementia that causes memory loss in healthy brains.
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain tissue. But these are made up of an insoluble protein called ‘Amloid-beta’ (Abeta) which forms small structures called ‘oligomers’ that are important in the disease progression.
Neuroscience researchers have investigated how Abeta affected healthy brains of pond snails (Lymnaea stagnalis) by observing the effect of administering the protein following a food-reward training task.
"Because we understand the memory pathways so well, the simple snail brain has provided the ideal model system to enable us to link the loss of established memory to pure Abeta," said George Kemenes, a neuroscientist at the University of Sussex.
According to the study, the Snails treated with Abeta had significantly impaired memories 24 hours later when tested with the food task, even though their brain tissue showed no sign of damage.
"This demonstrated that Abeta alone is enough to lead to the symptoms of memory loss that are well known in Alzheimer's disease," said lead author Lenzie Ford from the University of Sussex.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.