LivingScientists discover why Alzheimer's affects women more

Scientists discover why Alzheimer's affects women more

Alzheimer’s disease is almost twice as common in women as in men. We have known this for a long time. But why is this so? Why does it affect women more than men?


Until now, the cause has never been clear.

It is a mystery that has intrigued humanity for many decades.

Now, a team of scientists from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, United States, and the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, believe they have found the answer: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) . Specifically, the experts show how female hormones can have a significant impact on the formation of amyloid plaques and tau in the brain , which is the determining factor that drives the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.


testing a hypothesis

To shed light on this question, the researchers built on the basis of previous studies, establishing the hypothesis that the C/EBPβ/AEP pathway was the central factor driving the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.

“Based on this theory, our team searched for female hormones that change dramatically during menopause and tested which hormone selectively activates the C/EBPβ/AEP pathway,” said Keqiang Ye, co-author of the study published in the journal Nature.


follicle stimulating hormone

Therefore, they identified follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) or follicle-stimulating hormone (synthesized and secreted by gonadotroph cells in the anterior part of the pituitary gland) as the main pathogenic factor that triggers the disease.

“During menopause, the serum concentration of follicle-stimulating hormone rises sharply, binds to the cognate FSH receptor on neurons, and activates the C/EBPβ/AEP pathway. This results in Aβ peptide and Tau pathologies.” , leading to the development of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Zaidi Mone, a co-author of the research and a full professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.


Thus, this hormone, which increases during menopause, acts directly on neurons in the brain to accelerate the formation of amyloid and tau plaques through the aforementioned pathway.

The conclusions were derived from a series of experiments carried out on mice. First, they injected FSH into male mice and found that the hormone promoted the development of clear signs associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In another experiment with females, they tried removing the ovaries from female mice, finding that this alleviated the pathology of the disease.

Next, the team will focus on analyzing the relationship between specific risk genes such as ApoE4 and FSH to explore why female carriers of ApoE4 are more vulnerable to developing Alzheimer’s.

“Our findings demonstrate that the C/EBPβ/AEP signaling pathway acts as a central factor in these age-dependent diseases, which may help reveal how a variety of risk factors mediate neurodegenerative diseases through activation of this pathway. via”, the authors conclude.


How to keep Alzheimer’s disease away:

  • Doing regular exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, or aerobics classes, at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  • Eat healthy, with a Mediterranean menu of foods that includes fish, olive oil, avocados, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and poultry. And eat other types of food in moderation.
  • Take care of sleep; sleep as well as possible.
  • Participate in cognitively stimulating social activities.


The most common neurodegenerative diseases:

  • Alzheimer disease.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Friedreich’s ataxia.
  • Huntington’s disease.
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies.


Referencia: “FSH blockade improves cognition in mice with Alzheimer’s disease” by Jing Xiong, Seong Su Kang, Zhihao Wang, Xia Liu, Tan-Chun Kuo, Funda Korkmaz, Ashley Padilla, Sari Miyashita, Pokman Chan, Zhaohui Zhang, Pavel Katsel, Jocoll Burgess, Anisa Gumerova, Kseniia Ievleva, Damini Sant, Shan-Ping Yu, Valeriia Muradova, Tal Frolinger, Daria Lizneva, Jameel Iqbal, Ki A. Goosens, Sakshi Gera, Clifford J. Rosen, Vahram Haroutunian, Vitaly Ryu, Tony Yuen , Mone Zaidi and Keqiang Ye, 2 March 2022, Nature.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04463-0

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