Love hormone oxytocin can help treat Alzheimer's disease

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Oxytocin, also commonly known as the love and attachment hormone, can be helpful in treating Alzheimer's disease.

It is called the hormone of love and attachment, because secreted during orgasm, it plays a key role in the mother-child bond, in the lactation process but also in social and conjugal ties. The hormone oxytocin may be a very interesting therapeutic approach to treat cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's disease, according to a new scientific study.

One of the main causes of Alzheimer's disease is the accumulation of a protein, beta-amyloid, in groups around neurons, which undermines its activity and triggers its degeneration. The latter affects what is called "synaptic plasticity", that is, the ability of synapses (exchange interfaces between two neurons) to adapt to an increase or decrease in neuronal activity in extraordinary time. In the hippocampus, part of the brain linked in particular to learning and memory, this synaptic plasticity is crucial for the maintenance and acquisition of cognitive abilities.

A Japanese research team at the Tokyo University of Sciences studied oxytocin to combat this phenomenon. "Oxytocin has recently been shown to be involved in the regulation of learning and memory performance, but so far no previous study addresses the effect of oxytocin on amyloid-beta-induced cognitive decline," said Professor Akiyoshi Saitoh. it's a statement.

The team first perfused slices of mouse hippocampus with beta-amyloid to confirm that it effectively causes decreased signaling capabilities of neurons and alters synaptic plasticity. In a second experiment, oxytocin was added as an infusion, which increased signaling capabilities, suggesting a protective effect of this hormone called "love" on synapse plasticity. Other more complex experiments found that oxytocin was able to reverse the harmful effects of beta-amyloid.

"This is the first study in the world showing that oxytocin can reverse beta-amyloid-induced abnormalities in the mouse hippocampus," said Professor Akiyoshi Saitoh. If the stages are long before oxytocin becomes an integral part of Alzheimer's therapeutic arsenal, the team hopes that this therapeutic pathway will lead to a new drug to delay the progression of this type of disease. The study was published in the journal Biochemical and Biofysical Research Communication.

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