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A team of academic researchers has pinpointed how vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids may enhance the immune system's ability to clear the brain of amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.
The scientists identified key genes and signaling networks regulated by vitamin D3 and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that may help control inflammation and improve plaque clearance.
Previous laboratory work by the team helped clarify key mechanisms involved in helping vitamin D3 clear amyloid-beta, the abnormal protein found in the plaque. The new study extends the previous findings with vitamin D3 and highlights the role of omega-3 DHA.
For the study, scientists drew blood samples from both Alzheimer's patients and healthy controls, then isolated critical immune cells called macrophages from the blood. Macrophages are responsible for gobbling up amyloid-beta and other waste products in the brain and body.
Both 1alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and resolvin D1 improved the ability of the Alzheimer's disease patients' macrophages to gobble-up amyloid-beta, and they inhibited the cell death that is induced by amyloid-beta.
The next step is a larger study to help confirm the findings, as well as a clinical trial with omega-3 DHA, the researchers said.
The above story is based on the February 05, 2013 news release by University of California, Los Angeles
The research has been epublished November 27, 2012, ahead of print, in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease:
Mizwicki MT, Liu G, Fiala M, Magpantay L, Sayre J, Siani A, Mahanian M, Weitzman R, Hayden E, Rosenthal MJ, Nemere I, Ringman J, Teplow DB. 1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 and Resolvin D1 Retune the Balance between Amyloid-β Phagocytosis and Inflammation in Alzheimer's Disease Patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2013;34(1):155-170. doi:10.3233/JAD-121735