Muscle signals protect against dementia: Health


March 26, 2021 – How do different parts of the body communicate? Scientists at St. Jude are studying how signals sent by skeletal muscles affect the brain.

The team studied fruit flies and advanced brain cell models called organoids. They focused on the signals that muscles send when they are under stress. Researchers have found that stress signals rely on an enzyme called Amyrel amylase and its product, disaccharide maltose. Scientists have shown that mimicking stress signals can protect the brain and retina from aging. The signals work by preventing the accumulation of misfolded protein aggregates. The results suggest that adaptation of this signaling can potentially help fight neurodegenerative diseases such as age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “We found that a muscle-induced stress response could not only impact muscle, but also promote protein quality control in distant tissues like the brain and retina,” said Fabio Demontis , PhD, of St. Jude Developmental Neurobiology. “This stress response actually protected these tissues during aging.” …

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