Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Target For Alzheimer's Disease Identified

Date:
May 8, 2008
Source:
Gladstone Institutes
Summary:
In a new study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers have determined in mouse models that modulating the activity of enkephalin peptides in the brain might reduce the cognitive deficits seen in Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an incurable disease that is increasing in prevalence and will increase even more rapidly as the Baby Boom generation enters the age of highest risk. The available AD drugs are only partially effective in some patients. New strategies are urgently needed.

Related Articles


In a new study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience May 7, researchers in the laboratory of Lennart Mucke, MD, director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease (GIND), have determined in mouse models that modulating the activity of enkephalin peptides in the brain might reduce the cognitive deficits seen in Alzheimer's disease.

Enkephalins are part of the endogenous opioid system, which modulates learning and memory and other brain functions. They are produced by several different cell types in the brain, particularly in areas affected by AD. Enkephalins are derived by enzymatic cleavage from a precursor protein, preproenkephalin, and stored in vesicles. Upon stimulation, enkephalins are released with neurotransmitters, such as glutamate.

"The enkephalin pathway is an intriguing candidate for us because it is involved in many functions that are affected by Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases," said Dr. Mucke. "We were not sure, though, whether it contributed causally to the disease or acts as a compensatory mechanism."

To better understand the activities of the enkephalins in AD, the Mucke team examined their functions in a transgenic mouse model of AD. These mice express two proteins associated with AD--human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) and its cleavage product, Ab peptides--in neurons and exhibit several characteristics of AD.

The team found increased levels of preproenkephalin mRNA and of enkephalin in brain regions important for memory that are affected in early stages of AD.

When they genetically manipulated the mice to make them more or less susceptible to neuronal damage, the scientists found that the enkephalin levels were also affected. Furthermore, as levels of the enkephalins increased, the ability of mice to complete behavioral tests declined. Compounds that blocked opioid receptors, through which enkaphalins exert their effects, reduced cognitive deficits. AD patients also showed increased levels of enkephalins in brain regions affected by the disease.

"Our results indicate that the high levels of enkephalins may contribute to cognitive impairments in hAPP mice and maybe also in AD patients," said Dr. Mucke. "Although these are early results, they are encouraging and may lead the way to a new AD therapy based on limiting enkephalin production or signaling."

William J. Meilandt , Gui-Qiu Yy, Jeannie Chin, Erik D. Roberson, Jorge. J. Palop, Tiffany Wu, and Kimberly Scearce-Levie also contributed to the study. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Gladstone Institutes.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Gladstone Institutes. "New Target For Alzheimer's Disease Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507083934.htm>.
Gladstone Institutes. (2008, May 8). New Target For Alzheimer's Disease Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507083934.htm
Gladstone Institutes. "New Target For Alzheimer's Disease Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507083934.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. 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:

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