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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Can antibiotics control Alzheimer’s disease?

Research showed that an antibiotic mix impacted the gut bacteria in mice to the point that it slowed the growth and development of Alzheimer's, but only in males. Alzheimer’s is a disease where nerves degenerate which results in memory loss and defective cognition.

News Desk |


The study, conducted at The University of Chicago, IL, demonstrated how long-term antibiotic use could reduce inflammation and slow the growth of amyloid plaques in male mice. Amyloid plaques are a feature specific to Alzheimer’s disease – they form when a particular protein within the neurons of the brain buildup and clump together. These amyloid plaques disrupt brain cell function and lead to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.


The team was led by Professor Sangram S. Sisodia, who is also the director of the Center for Molecular Neurobiology at The University of Chicago. This research found that changes to the bacterial colony limited the development of amyloid plaques in male mice, but not females.

So, Prof. Sisodia and colleagues conducted a new study on a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, that scientists call ‘APPPS1-21’. They used an antibiotic combination to see how it affected the formation of amyloid plaques and the activation of microglia in the rodents’ brains. Microglia are immune cells that can cause inflammation in the brain when activated.


Prof. Sisodia and his team found that long-term antibiotic use affected the microbiome (bacteria) of male and female mice differently. The researchers discovered that the antibiotics reduced the growth of amyloid plaques and changed microglia into a form that helps keep the brain healthy — but only in male mice.

Read more: How does our brain remember the past?

For females, the gut microbiome changes affected their immune system, which increased the production of factors that could boost microglia activation. This did not happen in male mice. The results appear in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.


Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, although researchers note that increasing age is one of the most significant risk factors for developing the disease. There is a possibility that genetics could play a role as well. Some research also suggests that Alzheimer’s may have connections to a variety of other health and lifestyle factors, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Read more: How to make your brain more powerful?

Alzheimer’s is a disease that gets progressively worse over time. Most people who develop this disease experience memory problems at the outset, which can manifest themselves in many ways. This type of memory loss can interfere with daily life. As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer’s might repeat questions or get easily lost. They may also experience trouble handling money and paying the bills or have difficulty completing routine tasks at home or work.


Also, the disease might impair their judgment, and some may experience mood or behavior changes. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are some treatments available to help people manage symptoms and others that slow down the progression of the disease. However, research is ongoing to find a cure or treatment that halts the advancement of the disease. This new study is promising, but the scientists need to do further research to uncover what benefit, if any, it might impart to humans.