Immune cells that clear away Alzheimer’s disease protein are controlled by circadian rhythms

Citation: Clark GT, Yu Y, Urban CA, Fu G, Wang C, Zhang F, et al. (2022) Circadian control of heparan sulfate levels times phagocytosis of amyloid beta aggregates. PLoS Genet 18(2): e1009994.

The findings provide a mechanism that links Alzheimer’s disease with circadian rhythm disruptions

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Researchers report that the immune cells responsible for clearing away a key protein that builds up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease operate according to daily circadian rhythms. The discovery, reported by Jennifer Hurley of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and colleagues in a new study publishing February 10th in the journal PLOS Genetics, provides a potential explanation for the link between Alzheimer’s disease and disruptions to a person’s sleep cycle. 

Alzheimer’s disease is known to be associated with disruptions in circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycle that controls many aspects of human behavior and physiology. For example, sleep disruptions begin years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear and are linked to more severe symptoms and a higher risk of developing the disease.

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