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Possible New Alzheimer's Treatment? Destroying Amyloid Proteins With Lasers

Date:
January 14, 2009
Source:
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Summary:
Researchers have found that a technique used to visualize amyloid fibers in the laboratory might have the potential to destroy them in the clinic. The technique involves zapping the fluorescently-tagged fibers with a laser, which can inhibit their growth and degrade them.

Researchers have found that a technique used to visualize amyloid fibers in the laboratory might have the potential to destroy them in the clinic. The technique involves zapping the fluorescently-tagged fibers with a laser, which can inhibit their growth and degrade them.

This study, appearing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, may offer a non-drug alternative to treat amyloid-based disorders like Alzheimer, Parkinson, and Huntington diseases.

Yuji Goto and colleagues had been studying amyloids, dense tangles of protein, to better understand how they form. In an effort to view amyloid formation under a microscope in real-time, they added an amyloid specific dye called thioflavin T (ThT) to the tangles and then hit it with a laser beam to induce fluorescence. Surprisingly, they found that under the right conditions, the laser could actually stop fiber growth and even degrade the amyloids.

Goto and colleagues believe the laser-excited ThT transfers some of its energy to nearby oxygen, resulting in active oxygen species that alters the surrounding protein fibers. These specific experiments focused on beta2-microglobulin, a major component of amyloids associated with dialysis-related amyloidosis (a condition that currently has no good treatment), though they believe a similar approach of light-induced decomposition should work for other types of protein amyloids.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ozawa et al. Destruction of Amyloid Fibrils of a β2-Microglobulin Fragment by Laser Beam Irradiation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2008; 284 (2): 1009 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M805118200

Cite This Page:

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Possible New Alzheimer's Treatment? Destroying Amyloid Proteins With Lasers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090107155018.htm>.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (2009, January 14). Possible New Alzheimer's Treatment? Destroying Amyloid Proteins With Lasers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090107155018.htm
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Possible New Alzheimer's Treatment? Destroying Amyloid Proteins With Lasers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090107155018.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

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