Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prion Disease Treatable If Caught Early

Date:
February 1, 2007
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Studies in mice have indicated that the effects of prion disease could be reversed if caught early enough. The researchers said that their findings support developing early treatments that aim to reduce levels of prion protein in the brains of people with prion disease. Also, they said that their findings suggest testing the efficacy of treatments in a new way: by analyzing their cognitive effects in prion-infected mice.

Studies in mice have indicated that the effects of prion disease could be reversed if caught early enough. The researchers said that their findings support developing early treatments that aim to reduce levels of prion protein in the brains of people with prion disease. Also, they said that their findings suggest testing the efficacy of treatments in a new way: by analyzing their cognitive effects in prion-infected mice.

The researchers, Giovanna Mallucci and colleagues, reported their findings in the February 1, 2007 issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.

Prion disease--such as the version of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease believed to be contracted from cattle with "mad cow disease"--is caused by aberrant, infective proteins. It has been thought that the disease is untreatable.

However, in previous studies with prion-infected mice, Mallucci and colleagues found that early brain degeneration can be reversed if prions are depleted in neurons.

In the new studies published in Neuron, they established that cognitive and behavioral impairments--which appear early in humans with prion disease--can be reversed if prion depletion is done early. What's more, they found that the neurological pathology of the disease is reversed along with the cognitive and behavioral deficits.

In their studies, the researchers measured the effects of prion disease on the animals' ability to discriminate novel objects in their cage and on normal burrowing behavior. In both cases, deficits in those abilities appeared early in the disease. Also, studies of the animals' brain tissue revealed a parallel impairment of signaling among brain cells.

However, when the researchers manipulated the animals to deplete their brains of the prion protein, their memory ability and burrowing behavior recovered. Importantly, found the researchers, the signaling among brain cells also recovered.

"Overall, we conclude that the dramatic benefits to neuronal function and survival in prion-infected mice we have shown here support targeting neuronal [prion protein] directly as a therapeutic approach," wrote Mallucci and colleagues.

"Our findings of early reversible neurophysiological and cognitive deficits occurring prior to neuronal loss open new avenues in the prion field," they wrote. "To date, prion infection in mice has conventionally been diagnosed when motor deficits reflect advanced neurodegeneration. Now the identification of earlier dysfunction helps direct the study of mechanisms of neurotoxicity and therapies to earlier stages of disease, when rescue is still possible.

"Eventually it may also enable preclinical testing of therapeutic strategies through cognitive endpoints. These data now lead to the hope that early intervention in human prion disease will not only halt clinical progression but allow reversal of early behavioral and cognitive abnormalities," wrote the scientists.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Prion Disease Treatable If Caught Early." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070131135530.htm>.
Cell Press. (2007, February 1). Prion Disease Treatable If Caught Early. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070131135530.htm
Cell Press. "Prion Disease Treatable If Caught Early." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070131135530.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
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