05 Feb 2018

A team led by Stéphanie Daumas, a researcher at the Paris-Seine Institute of Biology* and Salah El Mestikawy of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal, questions the dogma that associates Alzheimer's disease with significant neuronal and synaptic losses. Their international study of more than 170 subjects with Alzheimer's disease at various stages was published in Scientific Reports on January 17, 2018.

Alzheimer's disease affects more than 850,000 people in France, with more than 225,000 new cases each year. To date, there is no truly effective treatment for this disease, which has a huge human and social cost.

A commonly accepted rule is that this most common form of dementia in the elderly is accompanied by a gradual and massive loss of neurons and their nerve endings. In contrast to this pattern, this international study suggests that Alzheimer's disease is in fact accompanied by only a slight decrease in the expression of neuronal and synaptic markers.

The team also sought to correlate all these limited synaptic decreases with the level of dementia of individuals. According to their results, the finding is that the decreases in these biomarkers would have little impact on the cognitive abilities of subjects. This research sheds new light on a pathology generally considered a neurodegenerative disease. It suggests that in Alzheimer's disease, dementia is linked to synapse malfunction rather than disappearance. This discovery paves the way for new treatment possibilities.

Read the publication published in Scientific Reports:

Read the publication published in Scientific Reports :

Moderate decline in select synaptic markers in the prefrontal cortex (BA9) of patients with Alzheimer’s disease at various cognitive stage.

Odile Poirel, Sebastien Mella, Catherine Videau, Lauriane Ramet, Maria Antonietta Davoli, Etienne Herzog, Pavel Katsel, Naguib Mechawar, Vahram Haroutunian, Jacques Epelbaum, Stephanie Daumas & Salah El Mestikawy. Scientific Reports, January 17, 2018. DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-018-19154-y

*IBPS, which is co-supervised by Sorbonne University/CNRS/Inserm