A study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that obstructing the heparan sulfate proteoglycan receptor may offer hope for treating Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative disorders. Researchers genetically disabled HSPGs in mice and cell cultures, finding that clumps of tau protein were not able to penetrate cells, which prevented cell-to-cell spread of misfolded tau. The study also linked the receptors to the spread of alpha-synuclein protein, which is involved with Parkinson's disease.

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