Cold Sore Virus Linked To Alzheimer's Disease: New Treatment, Or Even Vaccine Possible
The virus behind cold sores is a major cause of the insoluble protein
plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease sufferers, University of
Manchester researchers have revealed.
They believe the herpes simplex virus is a significant factor in
developing the debilitating disease and could be treated by antiviral
agents such as acyclovir, which is already used to treat cold sores and
other diseases caused by the herpes virus. Another future possibility is
vaccination against the virus to prevent the development of the disease in
the first place.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterised by progressive memory loss
and severe cognitive impairment. It affects over 20 million people
world-wide, and the numbers will rise with increasing longevity. However,
despite enormous investment into research on the characteristic
abnormalities of AD brain - amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles -
the underlying causes are unknown and current treatments are ineffectual.
(GARY NULL claims he cured a totally gone victim, made her normal!)
Professor Ruth Itzhaki and her team at the University's Faculty of Life
Sciences have investigated the role of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1)
in AD, publishing their very recent, highly significant findings in the
Journal of Pathology.
Most people are infected with this virus, which then remains life-long
in the peripheral nervous system, and in 20-40% of those infected it causes
cold sores. Evidence of a viral role in AD would point to the use of
antiviral agents to stop progression of the disease."
POSTER's NOTE: Gives new meaning to the phrase #*&(@* our brains out
as humans most easily get Herpes from sexual contact, though a careless mom
changing a baby's diapers could transfer her cold sore from her saliva being on her fingertips to baby's bottom. It would take years for baby's immune system to get
so compromised that cold sores or genital herpes would 'bloom'
"The team discovered that the HSV1 DNA is located very specifically in
amyloid plaques: 90% of plaques in Alzheimer's disease sufferers' brains
contain HSV1 DNA, and most of the viral DNA is located within amyloid
plaques. The team had previously shown that HSV1 infection of nerve-type
cells induces deposition of the main component, beta amyloid, of amyloid
plaques. Together, these findings strongly implicate HSV1 as a major factor
in the formation of amyloid deposits and plaques, abnormalities thought by
many in the field to be major contributors to Alzheimer's disease.
The team had discovered much earlier that the virus is present in
brains of many elderly people and that in those people with a specific
genetic factor, there is a high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
The team's data strongly suggest that HSV1 has a major role in
Alzheimer's disease and point to the usage of antiviral agents for treating
the disease, and in fact in preliminary experiments they have shown that
acyclovir reduces the amyloid deposition and reduces also certain other
feature of the disease which they have found are caused by HSV1 infection.
Professor Itzhaki explains: "We suggest that HSV1 enters the brain in
the elderly as their immune systems decline and then establishes a dormant
infection from which it is repeatedly activated by events such as stress,
immunosuppression, and various infections.
"The ensuing active HSV1 infection causes severe damage in brain cells,
most of which die and then disintegrate, thereby releasing amyloid
aggregates which develop into amyloid plaques after other components of
dying cells are deposited on them."
Her colleague Dr Matthew Wozniak adds: "Antiviral agents would inhibit
the harmful consequences of HSV1 action; in other words, inhibit a likely
major cause of the disease irrespective of the actual damaging processes
involved, whereas current treatments at best merely inhibit some of the
symptoms of the disease."
The team now hopes to obtain funding in order to take their work
further, enabling them to investigate in detail the effect of antiviral
agents on the Alzheimer's disease-associated changes that occur during HSV1
infection, as well as the nature of the processes and the role of the
genetic factor. They very much hope also that clinical trials will be set
up to test the effect of antiviral agents on Alzheimer's disease patients.
MA Wozniak, AP Mee and RF Itzhaki. Herpes simplex virus type I DNA is
located within Alzheimer's disease amyloid plaques. The Journal of
Pathology, Volume 217, Issue 1 , Pages131 - 138 DOI: 10.1002/path.2449
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