LOS ANGELES, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The response of immune system cells inside the protective covering surrounding the brain may contribute to the cognitive decline that can occur in a person with chronic high blood pressure, according to a new study supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
This finding, published in Nature Neuroscience, may shed light on new ways to counteract the effects of high blood pressure on cognition, the NIH said on Monday.
Using a mouse model of high blood pressure, the researchers found abnormally increased levels of interleukin-17, a chemical normally released in the body to activate the immune system, in the cerebral spinal fluid and the brain. Previous study showed that a high salt diet increased IL-17 in the gut, which was followed by cognitive impairment.
"The role of immune signaling in cognitive decline is critically important to understand," said Roderick Corriveau, program director of the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. "These findings offer insight into how signaling from the immune system could contribute to symptoms of cognitive decline that ultimately result in dementia diagnoses."