Sauna-like conditions or menthol treatment reduce tau phosphorylation through mild hyperthermia.

TitleSauna-like conditions or menthol treatment reduce tau phosphorylation through mild hyperthermia.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsGuisle, I, Canet, G, Pétry, S, Fereydouni-Forouzandeh, P, Morin, F, Kérauden, R, Whittington, RA, Calon, F, Hébert, SS, Planel, E
JournalNeurobiol Aging
Date Published2022 Feb 26

In Alzheimer's disease (AD), hyper-phosphorylation and aggregation of tau correlate with clinical progression and represent a valid therapeutic target. A recent 20-year prospective study revealed an association between moderate to high frequency of Finnish sauna bathing and a lower incidence of dementia and AD, but the molecular mechanisms underlying these benefits remain uncertain. Here, we tested the hypothesis that sauna-like conditions could lower tau phosphorylation by increasing body temperature. We observed a decrease in tau phosphorylation in wild-type and hTau mice as well as in neuron-like cells when exposed to higher temperatures. These effects were correlated with specific changes in phosphatase and kinase activities, but not with inflammatory or heat shock responses. We also used a drug strategy to promote thermogenesis: topical application of menthol, which led to a sustained increase in body temperature in hTau mice, concomitant with a significant decrease in tau phosphorylation. Our results suggest that sauna-like conditions or menthol treatment could lower tau pathology through mild hyperthermia, and may provide promising therapeutic strategies for AD and other tauopathies.

Alternate JournalNeurobiol Aging
PubMed ID35334439