A study conducted by researchers from Cima Universidad de Navarra has discovered that inhaling menthol improves cognitive ability in animal models of Alzheimers disease. The research has shown that this substance has properties capable of modulating the immune system and, after sustained exposure over time, can prevent the cognitive decline characteristic of this neurodegenerative disease.
The results of this research are very relevant, as they open the door to the development of therapies based on stimulating and training the olfactory system to prevent or alleviate the effects of Alzheimer’s and other central nervous system diseases. Additionally, this study has demonstrated that inhalation of menthol can have a beneficial effect on the cognitive capacity of young healthy mice, indicating that this substance could have broader therapeutic potential.
The study focused on the role that the olfactory system can have on the immune and central nervous systems. The researchers observed that exposure to menthol for six months prevented cognitive decline in mice with Alzheimer’s and, more interestingly, improved the cognitive ability of young healthy mice. It was also found that blocking regulatory T cells or Tregs, a type of immune cell, improved cognitive ability in the mouse with Alzheimer’s and caused a clear benefit in the cognitive capacity of young healthy mice.
The mechanism of action of menthol inhalation is related to the reduction of levels of a key protein in mediating the inflammatory response, interleukin-1-beta. The researchers found that inhibiting this protein with a drug approved for the treatment of some autoimmune diseases improved cognitive ability in these sick mice.
In conclusion, this study demonstrates that menthol inhalation can have beneficial effects on the cognitive capacity of mice with Alzheimer’s disease and young healthy mice. It also suggests that odors and immune modulators may play a relevant role in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s and other diseases related to the central nervous system. These results are an important step towards understanding the connection between the immune system, the central nervous system, and the sense of smell, and open new therapeutic possibilities for treating these diseases.
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