Saturday January 25, 2020

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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This Protein in the Human Brain Can Protect Against Alzheimer’s disease

Brain protein that could protect against Alzheimer's disease

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Human Brain
Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer's disease. Pixabay

Researchers have found that a protein that regulates white blood cells in the human brain could protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

The results published in the journal Communications Biology suggest that this protein, called CD33, could have important implications in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

“Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer’s disease,” explained study co-author Matthew Macauley, Assistant Professor at University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

“They can be harmful or protective. Swaying microglia from a harmful to protective state could be the key to treating the disease,” Macauley added.

Scientists have identified the CD33 protein as a factor that may decrease a person’s likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain
CD33 protein in the brain plays a crucial role in modulating the function of microglia. Pixabay

Now, Macauley’s research has shown that the most common type of CD33 protein plays a crucial role in modulating the function of microglia.

“The fact that CD33 is found on microglia suggests that immune cells can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease under the right circumstances,” said Abhishek Bhattacherjee, first author and postdoctoral fellow in the Macauley lab.

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 44 million people around the world.

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“These findings set the stage for future testing of a causal relationship between CD33 and Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as testing therapeutic strategies to sway microglia from harmful to protecting against the disease – by targeting CD33,” said Macauley.

“Microglia have the potential to ‘clean up’ the neurodegenerative plaques, through a process called phagocytosis — so a therapy to harness this ability to slow down or reverse Alzheimer’s disease can be envisioned,” Macauley said. (IANS)