Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Strategies to protect new brain cells against Alzheimer's disease

Date:
December 8, 2009
Source:
Gladstone Institutes
Summary:
Scientists have discovered that two main causes of AD amyloid-beta (AČ) peptides and apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4) impair the growth of new neurons born in adult brains. What is more, they have identified drug treatments that can normalize the development of these cells even in the presence of AČ or apoE4.

Stimulating the growth of new neurons to replace those lost in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an intriguing therapeutic possibility. But will the factors that cause AD allow the new neurons to thrive and function normally? Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease (GIND) have discovered that two main causes of AD amyloid-beta (Aβ) peptides and apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4) impair the growth of new neurons born in adult brains.

Related Articles


What is more, they have identified drug treatments that can normalize the development of these cells even in the presence of Aβ or apoE4. The findings are described in two separate papers published in the current issue of Cell Stem Cell.

Although it had long been assumed that neurons cannot be renewed, it is now well established that new neurons are generated throughout the lives of mammals. One brain region in which new neurons are born in adults, the hippocampus, is involved in learning and memory and affected severely by Alzheimer's disease.

GIND investigator Li Gan, PhD, and her collaborators studied the development of neurons born in the hippocampus of adult mice genetically engineered to produce high levels of human Aβ in the brain. Surprisingly, Aβ initially accelerated the development of newborn neurons but then profoundly impaired their maturation at later stages of development.

"Interestingly," Dr. Gan said, "we were able to protect the newborn neurons and ensure their normal development with drugs that counteract Aβ-induced abnormalities in neural network activity. It is possible that these drugs could support the development of neurons from stem cells even in the hostile environment of the AD brain."

In a complementary study, GIND investigator Yadong Huang, MD, PhD and his team focused on apoE4, the major genetic risk factor for AD. The team used genetically engineered mice to study the effects of different human apoE variants on the maturation of neural stem cells or progenitor cells, from which new neurons develop in the adult brain. They found that apoE4 also impairs the development of new neurons in the hippocampus and identified drug treatments that could block these detrimental effects.

"Our findings suggest that apoE4 inhibits the development of newborn neurons by impairing specific signaling pathways and that boosting these pathways with drugs may be of therapeutic benefit," said Dr. Huang. "It might allow us to encourage the development of new neurons from stem cells to replace those lost in apoE4 carriers with AD."

"Although stem cell therapy for AD is still a long ways off, these studies have identified strategies to overcome major obstacles in the path towards this goal," said GIND Director Lennart Mucke, MD, who coauthored one of the studies. "They clearly demonstrate that drugs can be used to improve the development of newborn neurons in memory centers of the adult brain, even in the presence of toxic factors widely presumed to cause AD."

Dr. Gan's research was supported by the J. David Gladstone Institutes and the L.K.Whittier Foundation. Binggui Sun, Brian Halabisky, Yungui Zhou, Jorge Palop, Guiqiu Yu, and Lennart Mucke also contributed to this research. Dr. Huang's research was supported by the J. David Gladstone Institutes, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the National Institutes of Health. Gang Li, Nga Bien-Ly, Yaisa Andrews-Zwilling, Aubrey Bernardo, Karen Ring, Brian Halabisky, Changhui Deng, and Robert W. Mahley also contributed to this research.


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. "Strategies to protect new brain cells against Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091203132148.htm>.
Gladstone Institutes. (2009, December 8). Strategies to protect new brain cells against Alzheimer's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091203132148.htm
Gladstone Institutes. "Strategies to protect new brain cells against Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091203132148.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) 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:

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