Mice fed a high salt diet lose the ability to perform simple tasks


Too a lot salt may lead to a decline in psychological talents

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Eating an excessive amount of salt could lead to cognitive impairment, and now scientists could know why. It kicks off an immune response that causes the build-up of a protein that stops mind cells from working correctly.

Scientists have lengthy recognized that a high-salt diet will increase the threat of stroke. It was first thought that salt led to high blood strain, which broken the mind, however current analysis reveals that an excessive amount of salt could cause issues even amongst these with regular blood strain.

Costantino Iadecola at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York and his colleagues needed to discover out why salt itself seems to be dangerous to the mind.


To achieve this, they fed mice a diet containing between eight and 16 instances the regular quantity of salt, then had them perform cognitive checks. After two months on this diet, the mice have been unable to recognise new objects they have been introduced with and have been a lot slower at discovering their means out of a maze than these on a regular diet.

Tau build-up

Initially the staff believed that extra salt was reaching the mind and inflicting harm there. However, an evaluation of mind tissue instructed one thing else was occurring. In the mind tissue, the staff discovered a build-up of tau, a protein linked to Alzheimer’s illness.

The researchers assume they know why the tau started accumulating. They discovered that the high-salt diet additionally elevated the variety of immune system T-cells in the intestine. These cells produce small chemical messengers that travels to blood vessels in the mind, the place they cut back the manufacturing of nitric oxide.

Lower ranges of nitric oxide in the mind led to diminished blood movement and in addition elevated the exercise of an enzyme in mind cells referred to as CDK5. It is that this enzyme that prompts the build-up of tau proteins.

When Iadecola and his colleagues restored nitric oxide manufacturing in the mice, their cognitive ability improved. Similarly, mice bred with out the ability to produce tau protein, or those that have been handled with anti-tau antibodies, exhibited no cognitive impairment.

This signifies that there’s a causal hyperlink between dietary salt, blood vessel dysfunction in the mind and issues with tau manufacturing in the mind.

The new research additionally challenges the concept that decrease blood movement to the mind can set off dementia, as a result of the analysis reveals that counteracting tau reverses the dementia even when blood movement continues to be low, says Iadecola.

Journal reference: Nature, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1688-z

Read extra: High blood strain in older individuals linked to Alzheimer’s illness


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