Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How mutations in presenilin gene cause early onset Alzheimer's disease

Date:
June 11, 2010
Source:
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have discovered how mutations in the presenilin 1 gene cause early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The finding opens the door to developing novel treatments for this form of the mind-robbing disease and for the more common, late-onset form that develops later in life and affects millions of people worldwide.

Researchers have discovered how mutations in the presenilin 1 gene cause early-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). The finding, reported online in the journal Cell, opens the door to developing novel treatments for this form of the mind-robbing disease and for the more common, late-onset form that develops later in life and affects millions of people worldwide.

The presenilin gene is most commonly associated with the early-onset familial form of Alzheimer's, which runs in families and can strike people in their 30s. The gene was discovered 15 years ago, but until now no one understood how mutations in the gene caused the disease.

The researchers led by Ralph Nixon , MD, PhD, professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Cell Biology at NYU Langone Medical Center and director of the Center for Dementia Research at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, discovered that the presenilin 1 gene performs a crucial biological function that enables cells to digest unwanted proteins and is essential for brain cell survival. The mutations, they report, disrupt this cellular protein-recycling process, killing nerve cells.

"In mouse models of Alzheimer's disease and in skin cell of patients with Alzheimer's disease caused by presenilin mutations, we observed that the ability to break down and reuse normal proteins and to remove potentially toxic damaged proteins and organelles is severely impaired," says Dr. Nixon who is also director of the Center of Excellence on Brain Aging and the Silberstein Alzheimer's Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center. The impairment can kill nerve cells, and the loss of neurons does not appear to be dependent on amyloid beta, the plaque-forming protein found in the brains of patients.

"Most of the drug development for Alzheimer's has been focused on removing amyloid from the brain," says Dr. Nixon. "Our findings strongly suggest that there are alternative pathways that can be targeted as well. For example, therapies could be aimed at repairing the cellular mechanism that eliminates toxic proteins before they damage the brain."

Preliminary observations from ongoing studies at the Nathan Kline Institute, says Dr. Nixon, indicate that similar disruptions of the cellular protein-recycling process occur in neurons affected by late-onset Alzheimer's, suggesting that factors other than mutations in the presenilin gene can also impair this process.

More than 160 rare mutations in the presenilin 1 gene and two others have been found to cause early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease. Only a few genes associated with late-onset form of Alzheimer's, the most common form of senile dementia, have been identified so far.

"Presently, no effective treatment exists to either slow or prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease," says Dr. Nixon. "There is urgent need to see Alzheimer's disease as multi-factorial and to approach the treatment from that perspective."

Funding for this research was provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Alzheimer's Association. The study was done in collaboration with NYU Langone's Silberstein Alzheimer's Institute and the Center for Dementia Research at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research (NY); The Marion Bessin Liver Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (NY); Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine (Japan); University of Alberta, Edmonton (Canada); and the University of Chicago (Illinois).

Co-authors include Ju-Hyun Lee, Haung Yu, Asok Kumar, Sooyeon Lee, Panaiyur S. Mohan, Corrinne M. Peterhoff and Devin M. Wolfe of NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Yu is presently at the Taub Institute, Columbia University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. "How mutations in presenilin gene cause early onset Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100610125621.htm>.
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. (2010, June 11). How mutations in presenilin gene cause early onset Alzheimer's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100610125621.htm
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. "How mutations in presenilin gene cause early onset Alzheimer's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100610125621.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) 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