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Liver, Not Brain, Likely Source Of Alzheimer’s Plaque

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Aired 3/8/11

An unexpected discovery points to the liver, not the brain, as the source of plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Gregor Sutcliffe, PhD,  Scripps Research Institute
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Above: Gregor Sutcliffe, PhD, Scripps Research Institute

— An unexpected discovery points to the liver, not the brain, as the source of plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Greg Sutcliffe, is a professor and lead researcher of the study done at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla.

Sutcliffe said a protein substance “born in the liver” travels through the blood stream and deposits plaque commonly associated with Alzheimer’s in the brain.

“The disease Alzheimer’s pathogenic origins are in the liver rather than in the brain,” said Sutcliffe.

Because medicine travels into the liver easier than it does the brain, Sutcliffe said, this discovery could mean that treating the devastating disease may be as easy as taking a few pills .

“It’s a big step toward directing attention toward what needs to be accomplished.”

Sutcliffe said the next steps are to work with a drug company to do human clinical trials that target the production of the Alzheimer’s plaque that originating in the liver.

The research, done on mice, also found three genes that seemed to protect against Alzheimer’s-linked plaque.

The Study was published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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