Is a brain protein often associated with Alzheimer’s disease and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy the source of chronic brain damage stemming from traumatic brain injuries? Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston claim that is the case.
The tau brain protein creates deposits in the form of abnormal aggregates. BioNews Texas says that these “abnormal deposits” come in two forms: neurofibrillary tangles or oligomers. Tau proteins are normally necessary for the health of brain cells, but when they become tangled or clumped into oligomers they become toxic and can impair the metabolic functioning of healthy tau.
The researchers from the University of Texas, lead by Bridget Hawkins, identified that traumatic brain injuries cause tau proteins to clump into oligomers in laboratory rats, where they also say that the oligomers have the potential to affect the normal tau proteins. The conclusion from this is that since oligomers have the ability to affect the normal proteins, they lasting brain damage from TBI is caused by these oligomers.
The study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, also stated that the researches believe the long term damage and consequences of TBI can be slowed or controlled if the process of tau oligomerization can be stopped.