Investigating stress-related therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s disease in human neuronal cells
Stressful experiences are all around us. These experiences can make us more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and, if we have Alzheimer’s disease, can speed up its progression. So it’s vital to understand how stress impacts the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. To do this in the laboratory, we are using brain-like human cells from adult donors to model Alzheimer’s disease. We are investigating how these cells respond to stress hormones called glucocorticoids, which are released when we’re stressed. So far our work has suggested that cells in the brain may respond differently to stress hormones in people living with Alzheimer’s disease. It has also revealed that some aspects of these stress hormone responses may be helpful, and others harmful. This new study will dig deeper into stress, the brain and Alzheimer’s disease. What happens inside the brain-like cells which model Alzheimer’s disease when they are exposed to stress hormones? When, how and why can stress hormones can be beneficial or damaging? By answering these questions we hope to enable development of drugs and environmental interventions which target stress hormones to decrease risk for Alzheimer’s disease and improve the lives of all of us as we age.