Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How the demons of dementia possess and damage brain cells

Date:
March 4, 2010
Source:
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Summary:
A new study may lead to new forms of treatment following a better understanding of how amyloid-beta found in cerebral plaques, typically present in the brain of Alzheimer's patients, may lead to neurodegeneration.

A study from EPFL's (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) Laboratory of Neuroenergetics and Cellular Dynamics in Lausanne Switzerland, published March 3 in the Journal of Neuroscience, may lead to new forms of treatment following a better understanding of how amyloid-beta found in cerebral plaques, typically present in the brain of Alzheimer's patients, may lead to neurodegeneration. Researchers in Lausanne have studied how the functions of certain cells called astrocytes-which normally protect, repair, and transfer energy to neurons-are impaired when "possessed" by aggregated amyloid-beta.

Alzheimer's disease currently affects more than 26 million people worldwide and estimates of up to four times as many sufferers by 2050 has made studying its causes a top priority for neuroscientists.

While the exact mechanisms by which the formation of plaques occurs and how they cause neurodegeneration and dementia is still a matter of debate in the scientific world, this study sheds a new light on how astrocytes may participate in the development of Alzheimer's disease. This new understanding of the interaction between amyloid-beta and astrocytes could lead to more effective therapies for Alzheimer's disease by trying to rescue astrocytic functions by deactivating the scavenger receptors.

The current study explores the causal relationship between the build-up of the amyloid-beta protein, associated with the formation of plaques, and the impairment of astrocyte's functions. Pierre Magistretti, director of the Brain Mind Institute and the Center for Psychiatric Neurosciences at CHUV/UNIL, and Igor Allaman, post doctoral fellow in Magistretti's lab, have succeeded in determining how built-up amyloid-beta infiltrates the astrocyte cells and alters their proper functioning, thus leading to the death of surrounding neurons. "To penetrate the astrocyte, the pathological protein goes through a 'scavenger' receptor." explains Igor Allaman. "Our study has shown that if we impair amyloid-beta build-up, or activation of this receptor, astrocytes continue to fulfill their normal neuroprotective functions even in the presence of the Amyloid-Beta."

The authors include Igor Allaman, from the Laboratory of Neuroenergetics and Cellular Dynamics in the Brain Mind Institute (EPFL), Mathilde Gavillet from the Laboratory of Neuroenergetics and Cellular Dynamics in the Brain Mind Institute (EPFL), Mireille Bélanger from the Laboratory of Neuroenergetics and Cellular Dynamics in the Brain Mind Institute (EPFL), Thierry Laroche from the Cellular Imaging Facility in the Brain Mind Institute (EPFL), David Viertl from the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology and Functionnal Neuroproteomics in the Brain Mind Institute (EPFL), Hilal A. Lashuel from the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology and Functionnal Neuroproteomics in the Brain Mind Institute (EPFL), and Pierre J. Magistretti from the Laboratory of Neuroenergetics and Cellular Dynamics in the Brain Mind Institute (EPFL) and the Centre de Neurosciences Psychiatriques, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, De´partement de Psychiatrie, Site de Cery, CH-1008 Prilly/Lausanne, Switzerland.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Amyloid-Beta Aggregates Cause Alterations of Astrocytic Metabolic Phenotype: Impact on Neuronal Viability. Journal of Neuroscience, March 3, 2010, issue 9

Cite This Page:

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "How the demons of dementia possess and damage brain cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303131652.htm>.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. (2010, March 4). How the demons of dementia possess and damage brain cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303131652.htm
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "How the demons of dementia possess and damage brain cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100303131652.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Work Can Be Stressful, But Is Unemployment Worse?

Work Can Be Stressful, But Is Unemployment Worse?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) — A new study shows stress at work can be hard on your health, but people who are unemployed might be at even greater risk of health problems. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) — Google says it is following Europe's new "Right To Be Forgotten Law," which eliminates user information upon request, but only to a certain degree. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) — Sometimes the signs of a stroke are far from easy to recognize. Learn from one young father’s story on the signs of a stroke. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) — Could eating carbohydrates be harmful to our brain health? Find out what one neurologist says about changing our diets. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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