Amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). According to recent work by Leinenga and Götz, scanning ultrasound could provide a non-pharmacological means of removing amyloid-β deposits from the brain.
The authors used repeated scanning ultrasound treatments of mouse brain to remove Aβ, without additional treatments such as anti-Aβ antibody. Spinning disk confocal microscopy and high-resolution three-dimensional reconstruction revealed extensive internalization of Aβ into the lysosomes of activated microglia in mouse brains with no concomitant increase observed in the number of microglia. Plaque burden was reduced in scanning ultrasound-treated AD mice compared to sham-treated animals, and cleared plaques were observed in 75% of treated mice. Improved memory performance was also observed for three tasks: the Y-maze, the novel object recognition test, and the active place avoidance task. The authors suggest that repeated scanning ultrasound is useful for removing Aβ in the mouse brain without causing overt damage, and should be explored further as a noninvasive method with therapeutic potential in Alzheimer’s disease.
Leinenga, G and Götz J: Scanning ultrasound removes amyloid-β and restores memory in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Sci. Transl. Med. 7 (278): 278ra33 (2015); DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa2512

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