Friday December 14, 2018

Protective molecule against Alzheimer’s identified

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New York: Giving the search for Alzheimer’s therapies a shot in the arm, researchers have identified the steps that a molecule takes to protect the brain from toxic effects of protein fragments known as amyloid beta, a hallmark of the progressive brain disorder.

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“Our discovery centers on a protein called WAVE1, which we found to be important in the production of amyloid beta,” said study author Paul Greengard, professor at Rockefeller University in New York.

“The reduction of WAVE1 appears to have a protective effect against the disease,” Greengard noted.

Brain cells themselves make amyloid beta, and for reasons that are not fully understood, its accumulation ultimately contributes to the memory loss, personality changes, and other symptoms that patients with this degenerative disease often suffer from.

“When levels of amyloid beta rise, there is an accompanying increase in another molecule, AICD, which reduces the expression of WAVE1. This has the effect of reducing the production of amyloid beta,” Greengard explained.

“By targeting steps within this newly discovered pathway, it may be possible to develop drugs to reduce amyloid beta that potentially could be used to either treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease,” Greengard pointed out.

WAVE1 is known to help to build filaments of a protein called actin that serve as basic components of cellular structures.

In the current study, the team, examined the levels of WAVE1 in mouse and cellular models of Alzheimer’s disease.

They found a dose-dependent response: Mice brains with low WAVE1 levels produced less amyloid-?, and these animals performed better on memory tests.

(IANS)

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Managing Cholesterol Might Help To Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

These included several points within the CELF1/MTCH2/SPI1 region on chromosome 11 that previously had been linked to the immune system

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alzheimer's, cholesterol
Can managing cholesterol reduce Alzheimer's risk? Read it out here. Pixabay

Managing cholesterol might help reduce Alzheimer’s risk, says researchers, including one of Indian-origin, who identified a genetic link between the progressive brain disorder and heart disease.

Examining DNA from more than 1.5 million people, the study showed that risk factors for heart disease such as elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels (HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol) were genetically related to Alzheimer’s risk.

However, genes that contribute to other cardiovascular risk factors, like body mass index and Type-2 diabetes, did not seem to contribute to genetic risk for Alzheimer’s.

“The genes that influenced lipid metabolism were the ones that also were related to Alzheimer’s disease risk,” said Celeste M. Karch, Assistant Professor at the Washington University’s School of Medicine.

Thus, if the right genes and proteins could be targeted, it may be possible to lower the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in some people by managing their cholesterol and triglycerides, added Rahul S. Desikan, Assistant Professor at the UCSF.

For the study, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica, the team identified points of DNA that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and also heighten the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

"The question for us now is not how to eliminate cholesterol from the brain, but about how to control cholesterol's role in Alzheimer's disease through the regulation of its interaction with amyloid-beta," Vendruscolo said.
In Alzheimer’s disease, patients start losing memory, Pixabay

The team looked at differences in the DNA of people with factors that contribute to heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease and identified 90 points across the genome that were associated with risk for both diseases.

Their analysis confirmed that six of the 90 regions had very strong effects on Alzheimer’s and heightened blood lipid levels, including several within genes that had not previously been linked to dementia risk.

These included several points within the CELF1/MTCH2/SPI1 region on chromosome 11 that previously had been linked to the immune system.

Also Read- Longer Exposure to Honking Traffic Makes You Obese

The researchers confirmed their findings in a large genetic study of healthy adults by showing that these same risk factors were more common in people with a family history of Alzheimer’s, even though they had not themselves developed dementia or other symptoms such as memory loss.

“These results imply that cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s pathology co-occur because they are linked genetically. That is, if you carry this handful of gene variants, you may be at risk not only for heart disease but also for Alzheimer’s,” Desikan said. (IANS)