Obesity-induced heart disease linked to Alzheimer’s protein, study finds

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A transformative study from Deakin University has uncovered a surprising connection between obesity and amyloid beta, a protein typically associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Published in Nature Communications, this research offers a new understanding of obesity-induced heart disease, a condition affecting up to 10% of people in certain age groups and with a high mortality rate.

Professor Sean McGee, from Deakin’s School of Medicine and the Institute for Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Translation (IMPACT), led the groundbreaking research.

The study focuses on amyloid beta, known for its role in the brain, where it accumulates and contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.

However, the Deakin University study has revealed that this protein is also secreted from fat tissue into the bloodstream, a discovery with significant implications for heart health.

The research utilized laboratory tests on both lean and obese mice. The findings showed that obese mice had considerably higher levels of amyloid beta in their blood compared to their lean counterparts.

This led to a pivotal question: could amyloid beta be a causative factor in heart disease? To answer this, the researchers treated normal, lean mice with amyloid beta and monitored their heart metabolism and function.

They found that amyloid beta induced cardiac disease similar to that caused by obesity. It was observed that amyloid beta interfered with the mitochondria in heart cells, disrupting energy generation and leading to heart disease.

This study marks the first instance where amyloid beta has been implicated in a disease other than Alzheimer’s. The revelation that fat tissue can produce and release amyloid beta as a cause of heart disease is groundbreaking.

It not only explains the development of obesity-induced heart disease but also suggests a potential treatment pathway.

With amyloid beta’s link to Alzheimer’s Disease, numerous therapies and drugs have been developed in recent years. Many of these treatments, while safe in humans, have failed to effectively treat Alzheimer’s Disease.

However, when used in obese mice, one such Alzheimer’s drug successfully prevented the progression of cardiac disease. This indicates that these amyloid beta-blocking drugs, already developed and safety-tested, could be repurposed for treating obesity-induced heart disease.

The implications of this discovery are profound. It opens up a feasible path to clinical trials for patients with heart disease, potentially reducing the drug development process by about a decade. The study not only provides a deeper understanding of the pathogenesis of obesity-induced heart disease but also introduces a promising treatment approach.

Professor McGee is now seeking grant funding and commercial support to further this research. The goal is to translate these findings into clinical trials and potential therapies for patients suffering from this challenging condition.

This breakthrough in understanding the relationship between a protein associated with Alzheimer’s and heart disease due to obesity could revolutionize the way we approach and treat this previously considered untreatable condition.

It offers new hope for millions of patients worldwide, marking a significant advancement in both cardiac and obesity-related research.

In conclusion, the research from Deakin University not only challenges existing notions about the role of amyloid beta but also paves the way for innovative treatment strategies.

This could potentially transform the lives of those suffering from obesity-induced heart disease, shifting the condition from untreatable to manageable.

If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies about the likely cause of Alzheimer’s disease , and new non-drug treatment that could help prevent Alzheimer’s.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about diet that may help prevent Alzheimer’s, and results showing some dementia cases could be prevented by changing these 12 things.

The research findings can be found in Nature Communications.

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