Monday December 16, 2019

Indian Researchers discover Fibrinogen, a Blood Protein that opens up new horizons in designing Drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease

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A researcher holds a human brain. VOA

Kolkata, Dec 9, 2016: Opening up new horizons in designing drugs for Alzheimer’s disease, Indian researchers have discovered that fibrinogen, a protein that is essential to stop bleeding by helping form blood clot, may arrest the damage caused to nerve cells in the devastating neuro-degenerative disorder.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterised by extensive loss of neurons and deposition of amyloid beta peptide in the form of plaques. The amyloid plaques that form between the brain’s neurons as it ages are toxic and hence cause the cognitive losses associated with Alzheimer’s. “We have, for the first time, demonstrated that the cytotoxic effects of amyloid beta can be prevented by fibrinogen in a dose-dependent manner.

Fibrinogen acts as a shield or antidote against its toxicity,” lead scientist of the study Debabrata Dash from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), told IANS on Thursday. Dash said the toxic effects of amyloid beta on blood platelets as well as on neuronal cells can be significantly reduced by pre-treatment with fibrinogen. “As fibrinogen is already known to bind amyloid beta, it can capture or sequester amyloid beta and prevent the latter from interacting with neuronal cells or platelets,” he said. There is a catch.

Fibrinogen does not cross blood-brain barrier (BBB) so this rules out the possibility of the protein gaining entry into brain and capturing the rogue amyloid beta peptides. “But peptides or small molecules resembling parts of fibrinogen can be designed which can cross blood-brain barrier to sequester amyloid beta in brain and can act as a novel therapeutic strategy against Alzheimer’s,” Dash explained, adding this is the scientists’ future plan.

The study was published in the journal Molecular Medicine. Apart from BHU, the study involved researchers from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata and Indian Institute of Toxicological Research Centre in Lucknow.

The idea posited in the study could also work in favour of advanced diagnostics. “The peptides that we intend to use for therapeutics can be conjugated with MRI contrast agents. It might be possible to detect or image amyloid plaques within the brain of AD patients non-invasively employing magnetic resonance imaging using these conjugated peptides capable of binding to amyloid plaques after crossing blood brain barrier,” he added. (IANS)

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Development of Alzheimer’s Disease Not Totally Linked to Genetics: Study

The research team analyzed the gene sequence and the biological age of the body's cells from blood

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Genetics
With additional funding, researchers could further explore the interaction between Genetics and environment in the development of Alzheimer's disease and the impact of environmental factors in delaying the onset of this disorder. Pixabay

The colour of our eyes or the straightness of our hair is linked to our DNA, but the development of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t exclusively linked to Genetics, suggest new research.

In the first study published about Alzheimer’s disease among identical triplets, researchers found that despite sharing the same DNA, two of the triplets developed Alzheimer’s while one did not.

The two triplets that developed Alzheimer’s were diagnosed in their mid-70s, said the paper published in the journal Brain.

“These findings show that your genetic code doesn’t dictate whether you are guaranteed to develop Alzheimer’s,” said Dr Morris Freedman, head of neurology at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care.

“There is hope for people who have a strong family history of dementia since there are other factors, whether it’s the environment or lifestyle, we don’t know what it is, which could either protect against or accelerate dementia.”

All three, 85-year-old siblings had hypertension, but the two with Alzheimer’s had long-standing, obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

The research team analyzed the gene sequence and the biological age of the body’s cells from blood that was taken from each of the triplets, as well as the children of one of the triplet’s with Alzheimer’s.

Genetics
The colour of our eyes or the straightness of our hair is linked to our DNA, but the development of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t exclusively linked to Genetics, suggest new research. Pixabay

Among the children, one developed early onset Alzheimer’s disease at age 50 and the other did not report signs of dementia.

The research team also discovered that although the triplets were octogenarians at the time of the study, the biological age of their cells was six to ten years younger than their chronological age.

In contrast, one of the triplet’s children, who developed early onset Alzheimer’s, had a biological age that was nine years older than the chronological age.

The other child, who did not have dementia, of the same triplet showed a biological age that was close to their actual age.

Genetic
Your Genetic code doesn’t dictate whether you are guaranteed to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. Pixabay

“The latest genetics research is finding that the DNA we die with isn’t necessarily what we received as a baby, which could relate to why two of the triplets developed Alzheimer’s and one didn’t,” says Dr. Ekaterina Rogaeva, senior author on the paper and researcher at the University of Toronto’s Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases.

“As we age, our DNA ages with us and as a result, some cells could mutate and change over time”.

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With additional funding, researchers could further explore the interaction between genetics and environment in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and the impact of environmental factors in delaying the onset of this disorder. (IANS)