Molecule in the grass of San Juan, which extends the life of the neurons identified

Molecule in the grass of San Juan, which extends the life of the neurons identified

  • It would help the treatment of Alzheimer's disease
  • Nibaldo Inestrosa and Patricia Burgos scientists discovered that their presence prevents the formation of a plate around neurons.

As people age, says Nibaldo Inestrosa, director of the Center for aging and regeneration of the PUC (Care UC), neurons, like everything that gets more mature, starting with their cunning, slowing an essential function that has to do with the cleaning of all the junk that accumulates around them.

"That process called Autophagy and makes that cell is eat what you have and if not enough to eat it, sends it to the outside and can thus meet their normal functions," he explains.

But the situation becomes dangerous, warns the national prize of natural sciences in 2008, when it starts to build up a protein called pioneer of Beta-amyloid (APP), responsible for the production of the amyloid peptide (smaller protein), which causes the formation of plates that are located around the neurons, causing them to die. "When that happens, means that the neurodegenerative Alzheimer's disease is present and that Autophagy could not delete that crap called APP," laments.

It makes sense, said Inestrosa, was to find a mechanism for stimulating Autophagy. And for that, he joined Dr. Patricia Burgos, researcher at the Center for cell biology and Biomedicine (Cebicem) University San Sebastian. Both discovered that hyperforin, derived from St. John's wort, molecule causes neurons to activate the cleaning process, getting rid of that annoying protein originating, inter alia, Alzheimer's disease.

"We tested it on neuronal cells of mice. We see that activates Autophagy and slows down, therefore, aging because cells perform their normal functions for longer"Inestrosa details.

Melissa Calegaro, PhD in biomedical sciences and researcher at the Center for Integrative Biology of the greater University, welcomes the results. "The beauty of this is that the neurons are cells that cannot be played, then this is a way to make them live longer. In addition, the hyperforin acts in one of the two major problems of Alzheimer's disease which is the excess of protein APP".