Using Human Brain Tissue in Lab Dishes, Researchers Show Herpes Link to Alzheimer’s

May 6, 2020

(STAT News) – A small 3D version of the human brain develops key features of Alzheimer’s disease when it is infected with a virus that causes cold sores, scientists reported on Wednesday, adding to the evidence that this most common form of dementia can be caused by a common microbe. The new research, published in Science Advances, is the first to directly show in a lab model (rather than through circumstantial evidence from human studies) that the herpes simplex virus HSV-1 might cause Alzheimer’s: Human brain-like tissue infected with the virus became riddled with amyloid plaque-like formations — the hallmark of Alzheimer’s. It also developed neuroinflammation and became less effective at conducting electrical signals, all of which happen in Alzheimer’s disease.