Fungal cells and hyphae have been identified in brain tissue from patients with Alzheimer’s, according to an initial study published in Scientific Reports this week.
Using microscopy and anti-fungal antibodies, Luis Carrasco and colleagues examined brain tissue samples from eleven patients who had Alzheimer’s and ten control patients. The authors found that in the patients studied, fungal cells and other fungal material were present in brain sections from all of the patients with Alzheimer’s, but not those of the controls. They also identified the presence of fungal macromolecules such as proteins and DNA in blood samples from the patients with Alzheimer’s. The authors note that the morphological characteristics of the fungi may be different for each of the patients with Alzheimer’s, which could suggest that the fungal species present may differ in each case.
Owing to the ages of the patients with Alzheimer’s studied (ranging from 62-92 years old) the authors suggest that a poor adaptive immune response may contribute to the emergence of fungal infections. However, further clinical studies are required to establish the cause of the infections in this case.