Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unraveling Alzheimer's: Simple small molecules could untangle complex disease

Date:
December 10, 2010
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
New molecular tools show promise for "cleansing" the brain of amyloid plaques, implicated in Alzheimer's disease.

Small Molecules for Metal-Amyloid Species in the Brain.
Credit: Mi Hee Lim and Joseph J. Braymer

New molecular tools developed at the University of Michigan show promise for "cleansing" the brain of amyloid plaques, implicated in Alzheimer's disease.

A hallmark of Alzheimer's disease -- a neurodegenerative disease with no cure -- is the aggregation of protein-like bits known as amyloid-beta peptides into clumps in the brain called plaques. These plaques and their intermediate messes can cause cell death, leading to the disease's devastating symptoms of memory loss and other mental difficulties.

The mechanisms responsible for the formation of these misfolded proteins and their associations with Alzheimer's disease are not entirely understood, but it's thought that copper and zinc ions are somehow involved.

The research, led by assistant professor Mi Hee Lim, was published online Dec. 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

In earlier work, Lim and her team developed dual-purpose molecular tools that both grab metal ions and interact with amyloid-beta. The researchers went on to show that in solutions with or without living cells, the molecules were able to regulate copper-induced amyloid-beta aggregation, not only disrupting the formation of clumps, but also breaking up clumps that already had formed.

Building upon that first generation of compounds, Lim and lab members Jung-Suk Choi and Joseph Braymer now report a second generation of compounds that are more stable in biological environments. The researchers tested one of those compounds, described in the PNAS paper, in homogenized brain tissue samples from Alzheimer's disease patients.

"We found that our compound is capable of disassembling the misfolded amyloid clumps to form smaller amyloid pieces, which might be 'cleansed' from the brain more easily, demonstrating a therapeutic application of our compound," said Lim, who has joint appointments in the Life Sciences Institute and the Department of Chemistry. In addition, preliminary tests show that the bi-functional small molecules have a strong potential to cross the blood-brain barrier, the barricade of cells that separates brain tissue from circulating blood, protecting the brain from harmful substances in the bloodstream.

"Crossing this barrier is essential for any treatment like this to be successful," Lim said.

Next steps include more intensive testing of the new compounds for diagnostic and therapeutic properties.

Lim and her team collaborated with Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, professor of chemistry and biophysics on this work, with funding from the U-M Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. J.-S. Choi, J. J. Braymer, R. P. R. Nanga, A. Ramamoorthy, M. H. Lim. Design of small molecules that target metal-Aβ species and regulate metal-induced Aβ aggregation and neurotoxicity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1006091107

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Unraveling Alzheimer's: Simple small molecules could untangle complex disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209130959.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2010, December 10). Unraveling Alzheimer's: Simple small molecules could untangle complex disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209130959.htm
University of Michigan. "Unraveling Alzheimer's: Simple small molecules could untangle complex disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209130959.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. 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