In this study, scientists at IRB Barcelona led by Dr. Aloy have characterized three stages of Alzheimer's disease, namely initial, intermediate, and advanced.
For each of these stages, they have analyzed the behavior of the animals, studied the effects on the brain (specifically the hippocampus at the tissue level), and performed a molecular analysis to measure gene expression and protein levels.
The approach adopted has allowed them to describe the development of the disease at a level of detail hitherto unknown and also compare it with healthy aging.
"What we have observed is that, although Alzheimer's disease shares some features of accelerated ageing, it is also affected by totally different ageing processes," says Dr. Aloy. "This disease is caused by the abnormal accumulation of certain proteins, and we have seen that, in some cases, this is not caused by overproduction but by an error in their removal," he adds.
Chemical Checker: detection of the most promising molecules
Having characterized the disease, the scientists used the Chemical Checker, a computational tool developed by the same research group to find drugs already on the market with the capacity to reverse the effects at the cellular level.
This tool has allowed them to identify a series of possible candidates, which were tested in various mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.