Scientists have come closer to understanding how to prevent amyloid plaque formation in Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes.
Amyloid plaques are protein deposits which play a significant role in the development of both conditions. So far, effective methods of preventing amyloid plaque formation are not yet available, but worldwide investigations are ongoing.
Now, German scientists have described a class of peptides that have shown to inhibit amyloid formation. Known as macrocyclic peptides (MCIPs), a family of peptides found in mammals, plants and other organisms, they have yielded success in laboratory tests.
Scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) believe the peptide class could eventually be used as a new class of amyloid inhibitors, once further rigorous testing has been conducted.
“They could be a good alternative to the currently pursued antibody-based approaches as therapeutics against Alzheimer’s amyloid plaque formation because they are easy to produce, have promising properties and, due to their peptidic nature, they will be significantly cheaper than antibodies,” said Professor Aphrodite Kapurniotu, Professor for Peptide Biochemistry at TUM.
MCIPs have shown to be stable in human blood and, according to Prof Kapurniotu, have “overcome the human blood-brain barrier in an in vitro cell culture”, two key signatures for being able to inhibit amyloid formation.
So far, the findings have only been demonstrated in test tube studies, but the findings are promising as the researchers embark on verifying the results in subsequent trials.
If researchers can develop a way of preventing amyloid plaques, this could hold a lot of promise for preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Also, if amyloid plaques within the pancreas can be prevented, this could help to stop people the gradual loss of insulin production that can happen to some people with type 2 diabetes.
The MUT team have applied for a patent for the MCIPs.
The results have been reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

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