Folio – How a protein in your brain could protect against Alzheimer’s disease

How a protein in your brain could protect against Alzheimer’s disease

Press Release
New research sets the stage for exploring a potential cause of Alzheimer’s and a different approach to treating it.


New research has found that the most common version of a protein called CD33 plays a crucial role in regulating white blood cells in the human brain, which could have important implications in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

The study builds on previous research that had identified the protein as a factor that may decrease a person’s likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. However, less than 10 per cent of the population have that version of CD33 as opposed to the more common one.

According to U of A chemist and immunologist Matthew Macauley, whose laboratory led the study, “White blood cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer’s disease-they can be harmful or protective.”

Territorial Acknowledgement

The University of Alberta, its buildings, labs, and research stations are primarily located on the traditional territory of Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, and Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe nations; lands that are now known as part of Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and homeland of the Métis. The University of Alberta respects the sovereignty, lands, histories, languages, knowledge systems, and cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit nations.

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