Researchers at Brown University and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass., have found a physical connection between the herpes simplex virus and amyloid precursor protein, a protein that breaks down to form a major component of the amyloid plaques that are consistently present in the brains of persons with Alzheimer’s disease.
Amyloid precursor protein – or APP – breaks down to form beta-amyloid. There is strong evidence, according to the researchers, that beta-amyloid is the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s.
While the scientists caution that no conclusions about Alzheimer’s can be drawn from their findings, Dr. Elaine Bearer, senior research scientist and associate professor in Brown’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, believes the work does in fact link the common herpes virus of cold sores with the neurodegenerative disorder. Bearer is also a summer investigator at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass.
Cynthia Ferguson | Brown University
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