Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Two Proteins May Help Prevent Alzheimer's Brain Plaques

Date:
January 22, 2004
Source:
Washington University School Of Medicine
Summary:
A study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests two proteins work together in mice to prevent formation of brain plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

St. Louis, Jan. 21, 2004 -- A study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests two proteins work together in mice to prevent formation of brain plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

The proteins, apolipoprotein E (apoE) and clusterin, appear to act as "chaperones" orchestrating the clearance of potentially hazardous molecules out of the brain. Ironically, these proteins also have been implicated in a key stage of plaque formation. The study appears in the Jan. 22 issue of the journal Neuron.

"This is one of the first demonstrations in living animals that these proteins affect amyloid clearance," says David H. Holtzman, M.D., the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology. "Our findings suggest it is worthwhile to explore the use of drugs or therapies to alter or perhaps increase the expression of these proteins as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease."

Holtzman, who also is the Charlotte and Paul Hagemann Professor of Neurology and professor of molecular biology and pharmacology, led the study; Ronald DeMattos, Ph.D., formerly an instructor in neurology, and John R. Cirrito, a graduate student in neuroscience, are co-first authors. The team collaborated with Eli Lilly and Company, where DeMattos now works.

A key step in the development of Alzheimer's disease is the formation of brain plaques. Studies suggest these plaques form when the protein amyloid beta (Abeta) is converted from its soluble to its insoluble form and coalesces into hair-shaped threads called fibrils. Unable to dissolve or be cleared out of the brain, the fibrils eventually clump together and become the amyloid plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer's.

In previous studies, Holtzman's team was instrumental in showing both apoE and clusterin promote the formation of these fibrils. Their new paper confirms that in mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer's disease-like brain plaques, those without either apoE or clusterin developed fewer fibrils.

The team therefore expected mice lacking both proteins would develop even fewer deposits. However, the opposite was true. Moreover, fibrils in animals lacking both proteins developed significantly earlier in life and resulted in the more advanced amyloid plaques. Such extreme Abeta deposition at a young age is akin to that in humans with the rare, genetic form of the disease called familial Alzheimer's.

"This was an unexpected and striking result," Holtzman says. "Though at first counter-intuitive, it implies that apoE and clusterin cooperate to suppress Abeta deposition."

In addition to increased amounts of Abeta in brain tissue, the team also found abnormally high levels in the fluid surrounding individual brain cells and in the fluid surrounding the entire brain. In contrast, levels of Abeta in the blood were not abnormally high.

Combined, the results suggest the two proteins not only play a role in the development of fibrils, but also in the clearance of Abeta from brain tissue and surrounding fluid. Without its chaperones, Abeta protein settles in the brain and eventually clusters into plaques.

According to Holtzman, the next step is to determine whether human forms of apoE and clusterin also delay or prevent the development of plaques in the mouse model and to explore the potential for drugs or gene therapy to reverse plaque formation in mice.

###

DeMattos RB, Cirrito JR, Parsadanian M, May PC, O'Dell MA, Tayler JW, Harmony JAK, Aronow BJ, Bales KR, Paul SM, Holtzman DM. ApoE and clusterin cooperatively suppress Abeta levels and deposition: Evidence at apoE regulates extracellular Abeta metabolism in vivo. Neuron, Jan. 22, 2004.

Funding from the National Institutes of Health, MetLife Foundation and Eli Lilly and Company supported this research.

The full-time and volunteer faculty of Washington University School of Medicine are the physicians and surgeons of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University School Of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University School Of Medicine. "Two Proteins May Help Prevent Alzheimer's Brain Plaques." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040122083713.htm>.
Washington University School Of Medicine. (2004, January 22). Two Proteins May Help Prevent Alzheimer's Brain Plaques. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040122083713.htm
Washington University School Of Medicine. "Two Proteins May Help Prevent Alzheimer's Brain Plaques." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040122083713.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins