Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alzheimer's Disease: Amyloid Precursor Protein -- Good, Bad Or Both?

Date:
December 29, 2009
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
New data about amyloid precursor protein, or APP, a protein implicated in development of Alzheimer's disease, suggests it also may have a positive role -- directly affecting learning and memory during brain development. So is APP good or bad? Researchers say both, and that a balance of APP is critical.

New data about amyloid precursor protein, or APP, a protein implicated in development of Alzheimer's disease, suggests it also may have a positive role -- directly affecting learning and memory during brain development. So is APP good or bad? Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center say both, and that a balance of APP is critical.

Alzheimer's disease, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, is characterized by neuronal cell death and a progressive loss of functioning in the brain. Symptoms of Alzheimer's (AD) include memory loss and impaired judgment. Abeta is one of many proteins found to be associated with the disease. It is released when APP, a larger protein, is cut by several enzymes. Research suggests this occurs when APP is abnormally processed, possibly due to trauma, cholesterol levels or oxidative stress. When Abeta is released, it can form plaque, a contributing factor in AD. Thus, Abeta and APP are involved in the early process of AD development.

APP is also known to be present at the synapses between neurons though its molecular action is not understood. Synapse loss is thought to be one of the main contributors to the cognitive decline seen in AD.

In a presentation at the 39th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center researchers say that while APP is negatively associated with AD, it appears to play a critical role in brain development.

Many studies have elucidated the importance of synapses and dendritic spines, the protrusions that allow communication between brain neurons, in learning and memory. In this new research, the GUMC scientists found decreased spine density in mice that have been genetically modified to not produce APP. The scientists then looked at four-week-old mice that over produced APP and found a significant increase in spine density. At one year old, however, these mice have Abeta plaques, as well as a decrease in spine density due to the effect of Abeta, which is known to be neurotoxic.

"Our work suggests that APP balance is critical for normal neuronal development, connection of synapses, and dendritic spine development, all of which have implications for the extensive synapse loss and cognitive decline seen in Alzheimer's disease," explains the study's author, Hyang-Sook Hoe, PhD, a research scientist in the department of neuroscience. "One strategy to counteract development of Alzheimer's disease is to maintain balance in APP protein expression in order to prevent production of Abeta."

This research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health. The authors report no related financial interests.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "Alzheimer's Disease: Amyloid Precursor Protein -- Good, Bad Or Both?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091018171806.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2009, December 29). Alzheimer's Disease: Amyloid Precursor Protein -- Good, Bad Or Both?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091018171806.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Alzheimer's Disease: Amyloid Precursor Protein -- Good, Bad Or Both?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091018171806.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
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