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Cleaning Up Alzheimer’s Disease with Biosurfactants

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Introduction: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a prevalent form of dementia characterized by degenerating physiological and neurological function. A common trait of AD is the accumulation of extracellular β-amyloid (Aβ) plaques, associated with increased tau protein phosphorylation, which creates neurofibrillary tangles that disrupt neuronal nutrient supply. This study explores the therapeutic use of biosurfactants: surfactant molecules secreted by microorganisms. Surfactants disrupt the surface tension of solvents or living membrane surfaces, leading to the dissolution of any aggregates relying on the surface tension.

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Methods: A murine model will be divided into four groups: injection-operation, receiving post-operational hippocampal Aβ injections; sham-operation, undergoing only the operation; sham-injection, given only the injection; and control, receiving no manipulation. Once AD is confirmed in the mice, half will be sacrificed and the other half will receive a biosurfactant treatment injected in their cerebrospinal fluid, then sacrificed.

Significance levels will be determined by 4x2 ANOVA and follow-up t-tests. Results: It is expected that the injection-operation group will have significantly higher Aβ concentration than the other groups and the mice treated with the biosurfactant will have lower Aβ concentration, with significant difference between treated and untreated mice in the injection-operation group. The biosurfactant concentrations will be negligible from the brain samples as it will be designed to have a short half-life and will decompose into biologically inactive compounds.

Conclusion: In determining the significance of the biosurfactant treatment on mice with AD and proving the safety and short in vivo half-life of this treatment, clinical trials can test the success of the biosurfactant therapy in humans. Implications: Exploring the use of therapeutic biosurfactants could ameliorate the prognosis of those affected by AD and even eradicate the disease. If successful, biosurfactants can be utilized as treatment for a multitude of other diseases characterized by accumulation of plaques and other toxic aggregates.

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