The Role of lipids and the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease
Neurons in the brain coexist with and rely on many other cell types to function properly. Astrocytes, which take their name from their star shape, ensure the survival of neurons by feeding and detoxifying
them with the help of a multifunctional protein, APOE. It is a small protein that forms particles containing lipids and vitamins to feed the neurons. As astrocytes age, they become less efficient and start to
accumulate lipids rather than destroy them. This deleterious accumulation of potentially harmful lipids could very well be an important contributor to neuronal death, a hallmark
of Alzheimer’s disease. A European consortium coordinated by UNIGE shows how a mutation in the APOE protein changes the lipid transport in the brain and could promote the arise of Alzheimer's disease.