Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Link Vascular Gene To Alzheimer's Disease

Date:
August 15, 2005
Source:
University of Rochester Medical Center
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a link between a prominent developmental gene and neurovascular dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease. The gene plays a major role in the growth and remodeling of vascular systems. But, in brain cells of people with Alzheimer's disease, expression of the gene is low, the scientists found, revealing a new piece of the Alzheimer's puzzle.

Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center havediscovered a link between a prominent developmental gene andneurovascular dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease.

The gene plays a major role in the growth and remodeling of vascularsystems. But, in brain cells of people with Alzheimer's disease,expression of the gene is low, the scientists found, revealing a newpiece of the Alzheimer's puzzle.

In laboratory studies, the scientists also showed thatrestoration of the gene expression level in the human brain cellsstimulated the formation of new blood vessels. It also increased thelevel of a protein that removes amyloid beta peptide, the toxin thatbuilds up in brain tissue in Alzheimer's disease.

In further studies, the scientists, led by Berislav Zlokovic, M.D.,Ph.D., deleted one copy of the gene in mice, creating echoes of thedamage of Alzheimer's, including reduced ability to grow blood vesselsin the brain and impaired clearance of amyloid beta.

"This is a new pathway for the study and treatment of Alzheimer'sdisease," said Zlokovic. "This gene could be a therapeutic target. Ifwe can stop this cycle, we could slow or stop the progression of theneuronal component of this disease."

An article by Zlokovic and his team detailing the research findingsappears Sunday Aug. 14 in the online version of Nature Medicine. Thearticle will be published in the September print edition of NatureMedicine.

Zlokovic is a professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center'sDepartment of Neurosurgery and director of the Frank P. SmithLaboratories for Neuroscience and Neurosurgical Research.

The gene targeted in the research is a homeobox gene known as MEOX2 andalso as GAX. A homeobox gene encodes proteins that determinedevelopment. Zlokovic calls it a "big boss."

The scientists studied human brain endothelial cells taken from autopsysamples from people with Alzheimer's. They found that expression ofMEOX2, or mesenchyme homeobox 2, is low in the cells of those withAlzheimer's.

"The cells with low levels can't form any kind of vascular system orany kind of network," Zlokovic said. "They just start dying."

In restoring expression of the gene, the Rochester scientists showedfor the first time that it suppresses a specific transcription factor.When the expression of MEOX2 is low, the factor "rampages" and allowsapoptosis or programmed cell death in the brain vascular system,Zlokovic said.

When MEOX2 expression is low, the research also showed that a proteinthat helps with the clearance of amyloid beta is suppressed.

Zlokovic views the findings reported in Nature Medicine as support for his belief that Alzheimer's is a neurovascular disease.

"If you find a problem in the brain, it doesn't necessarily meanthat it started in the brain," he said. "It's not that neuronal injuryis not important. It's that other things are more important."

But Zlokovic said that it is not clear yet whether the low expressionof the gene results in the death of brain cells and Alzheimer's diseaseor that the disease in neurons results in the low expression of thedisease.

"But if we can restore the dysfunctional gene, we might be able to slow or stop the disease wherever it started," Zlokovic said.

###

The National Institutes of Health provided some of the funding for the research.

In November 2004, Zlokovic received a MERIT award from the NationalInstitute on Aging. The award, worth approximately $5 million infunding, will be used to further his research for new ways to treat orprevent Alzheimer's disease. Zlokovic was selected by his peers at NIHto receive the award based on the consistent high quality of his workand leadership and commitment in the field over several years.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rochester Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Rochester Medical Center. "Scientists Link Vascular Gene To Alzheimer's Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814161908.htm>.
University of Rochester Medical Center. (2005, August 15). Scientists Link Vascular Gene To Alzheimer's Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814161908.htm
University of Rochester Medical Center. "Scientists Link Vascular Gene To Alzheimer's Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814161908.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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