Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Strategy discovered to prevent Alzheimer's-associated traffic jams in the brain

Date:
September 9, 2010
Source:
Gladstone Institutes
Summary:
Amyloid beta proteins, widely thought to cause Alzheimer's disease, block the transport of vital cargoes inside brain cells. Scientists have discovered that reducing the level of another protein, tau, can prevent amyloid beta from causing such traffic jams.

Amyloid beta (Αβ) proteins, widely thought to cause Alzheimer's disease (AD), block the transport of vital cargoes inside brain cells. Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease (GIND) have discovered that reducing the level of another protein, tau, can prevent Aβ from causing such traffic jams.

Neurons in the brain are connected to many other neurons through long processes called axons. Their functions depend on the transport of diverse cargoes up and down these important pipelines. Particularly important among the cargoes are mitochondria, the energy factories of the cell, and proteins that support cell growth and survival. Aβ proteins, which build up to toxic levels in the brains of people with AD, impair the axonal transport of these cargoes.

"We previously showed that suppressing the protein tau can prevent Aβ from causing memory deficits and other abnormalities in mouse models of AD," explained Lennart Mucke, MD, GIND director and senior author of the study, published online in Science Express. "We wondered whether this striking rescue might be caused, at least in part, by improvements in axonal transport."

The scientists explored this possibility in mouse neurons grown in culture dishes. Neurons from normal mice or from mice lacking one or both tau genes were exposed to human Aβ proteins. The Aβ slowed down axonal transport of mitochondria and growth factor receptors, but only in neurons that produced tau and not in neurons that lacked tau. In the absence of the Aβ challenge, tau reduction had no effect on axonal transport.

"We are really excited about these results," said Keith Vossel, MD, lead author of the study. "Whether tau affects axonal transport or not has been a controversial issue, and nobody knew how to prevent Aβ from impairing this important function of neurons. Our study shows that tau reduction accomplishes this feat very effectively."

"Some treatments based on attacking Aβ have recently failed in clinical trials, and so, it is important to develop new strategies that could make the brain more resistant to Aβ and other AD-causing factors," said Dr. Mucke. "Tau reduction looks promising in this regard, although a lot more work needs to be done before such approaches can be explored in humans."

The team also included Gladstone's Jens Brodbeck, Aaron Daub, Punita Sharma, and Steven Finkbeiner. Kai Zhang and Bianxiao Cui of Stanford's chemistry department also contributed to the research.

The NIH and the McBean Family Foundation supported this work.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Gladstone Institutes. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Keith A. Vossel, Kai Zhang, Jens Brodbeck, Aaron C. Daub, Punita Sharma, Steven Finkbeiner, Bianxiao Cui, and Lennart Mucke. Tau Reduction Prevents Aβ-Induced Defects in Axonal Transport. Science, 2010; DOI: 10.1126/science.1194653

Cite This Page:

Gladstone Institutes. "Strategy discovered to prevent Alzheimer's-associated traffic jams in the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909172011.htm>.
Gladstone Institutes. (2010, September 9). Strategy discovered to prevent Alzheimer's-associated traffic jams in the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909172011.htm
Gladstone Institutes. "Strategy discovered to prevent Alzheimer's-associated traffic jams in the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909172011.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
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