Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alzheimer Cell Death In Zebrafish: Demise Of Neurons Observed Live For The First Time

Date:
April 15, 2009
Source:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU)
Summary:
Alzheimer's disease has reached epidemic proportions in western society. Researchers have now developed the first animal model that directly traces the demise of neurons in the brain, and thereby allows better testing of the action of potential drugs.

Alzheimer’s disease has reached epidemic proportions in western society. Researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) Meunchen have now developed the first animal model that directly traces the demise of neurons in the brain, and thereby allows better testing of the action of potential drugs.

Related Articles


Extensive death of nerve cells leads to severe dementia in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Until now, it has only been possible to investigate the neuronal devastation in post mortem animal models, and by using complicated methods. Researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease at LMU Munich, headed by Professor Christian Haass, have now successfully observed this demise of nerve cells by life imaging.

The scientists inserted a gene into zebrafish that leads to a severe form of Alzheimer's in humans. The translucent larvae thereupon developed characteristic symptoms such as the death of neurons – the first directly observable instance in a living organism. “Our discovery now allows us to perform a targeted search for drugs that can stop the extensive cell death, and thereby stop dementia in patients,” says Haass. “The first findings have already shown that we can in principle use drugs to block at least some of the disease-related processes in the zebrafish.”

Around one million people in Germany suffer from Alzheimer's disease. There are an estimated 12 to 18 million patients around the world. This trend is even rising, not least due to the longer life expectancy of people in western society. The search for causal therapies is sorely needed, since neuronal cell death in the brains of Alzheimer's patients can still not be defeated. Moreover, the death of neurons can only be truly confirmed after the death of the patient. Even in animal models, the destruction of nerve cells has only been observable to a very limited extent and with great difficulty.

Professor Christian Haass and his two colleagues Dr. Bettina Schmidt and Dominik Paquet of the Deutsche Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen, DZNE (German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease) at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München and the cluster of excellence Center for Integrated Protein Science (CIPSM) have now inserted a gene responsible for a severe form of Alzheimer’s in people into zebrafish, with great success. The animals showed the characteristic symptoms, such as deposits in nerve cells and the selective loss of neurons.

They were even able to observe this while it was happening. “The translucent larvae of the zebrafish can be studied under a laser microscope over an extended period of time,” reports Haass. “If you add a color dye to the water to specifically stain dying cells, you can even directly watch the neurons as they die. That way, it should also be possible to watch and test directly whether potential drugs actually do have a protective action. First experiments using newly developed drugs have already confirmed this: One drug did have an effect in the living fish – and was able to block the disease-related processes in the zebrafish at least to some extent.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dominik Paquet, Ratan Bhat, Astrid Sydow, Eva-Maria Mandelkow, Stefan Berg, Sven Hellberg, Johanna Fälting, Martin Distel, Reinhard W. Köster, Bettina Schmid, Christian Haass. A transgenic zebrafish model for Tauopathies allows in vivo imaging of neuronal cell death and drug evaluation. Journal of Clinical Investigation, April 13, 2009 DOI: 10.1172/JCI37537

Cite This Page:

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). "Alzheimer Cell Death In Zebrafish: Demise Of Neurons Observed Live For The First Time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090413180542.htm>.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). (2009, April 15). Alzheimer Cell Death In Zebrafish: Demise Of Neurons Observed Live For The First Time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090413180542.htm
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). "Alzheimer Cell Death In Zebrafish: Demise Of Neurons Observed Live For The First Time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090413180542.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) — Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) — A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) — More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) — Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
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