Australian researchers have discovered a toxin that plays a crucial role in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
“We found that all of the brains of dementia patients showed quinolinic acid neurotoxicity,” reveals study co-author Bruce Brew. “This acid kills nerve cells in the brain, leading to brain dysfunction and ultimately death.”
“Quinolinic acid is part of a biochemical pathway called the kynurenine pathway,” adds lead author Dr Gilles Guillemin. “The activation of that pathway is also found in other major brain diseases including Huntington’s disease, stroke, dementia and schizophrenia.”
“Quinolinic acid may not be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but it plays a key role in its progression,” notes Alzheimer’s researcher, Dr Karen Cullen. “It’s the smoking gun, if you like.”
Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology – August 31;4:395-404.