Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Naturally occurring plant alkaloids could slow down Alzheimer's disease, study suggests

Date:
May 27, 2011
Source:
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Summary:
A family of naturally occurring plant compounds could help prevent or delay memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.

A family of naturally occurring plant compounds could help prevent or delay memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Related Articles


Beta-carboline alkaloids could potentially be used in therapeutic drugs to stop, or at least slow down, the progressively debilitating effects of Alzheimer's, according to the study published recently in the scientific journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

One of these alkaloids, called harmine, inhibits a protein known as DYRK1A, which has been implicated by this and other studies in the formation tau phosphorylation. This process dismantles the connections between brain cells, or neurons, and has been linked in past TGen studies to Alzheimer's disease.

Tau is a protein critical to the formation of the microtubule bridges in neurons. These bridges support the synaptic connections that, like computer circuits, allow brain cells to communicate with each other.

"Pharmacological inhibition of DYRK1A through the use of beta-carboline alkaloids may provide an opportunity to intervene therapeutically to alter the onset or progression of tau pathology in Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Travis Dunckley, Head of TGen's Neurodegenerative Research Unit, and the study's senior author.

Beta-carboline alkaloids are found in a number of medicinal plants. They have antioxidant properties, and have been shown to protect brain cells from excessive stimulation of neurotransmitters. "(They) are natural occurring compounds in some plant species that affect multiple central nervous system targets," the study said.

Under normal circumstances, proteins regulate tau by adding phosphates. This process of tau phosphorylation enables connections between brain cells to unbind and bind again, allowing neurons to connect and reconnect with other brain cells. However, this process can go awry, allowing the formation of neurofibrillary tangles, one of the signature indicators of Alzheimer's.

In this study, laboratory tests showed that harmine, and several other beta-carboline alkaloids, "potently reduced'' the expression of three forms of phosphorylated tau, and inhibited the ability of DYRK1A to phosphorylate tau protein at multiple genetic sites associated with tau pathology.

"These results suggest that this class of compounds warrant further investigation as candidate tau-based therapeutics to alter the onset or progression of tau dysfunction and pathology in Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Dunckley said.

The Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium, the National Institute on Aging, and the Louis Charitable Trust funded the study. The Consortium is funded in part by the Arizona Legislature through the Arizona Department of Health Services, which supported a portion of the study. Members of the Consortium also participated in the study. MediProPharma Inc. supported portions of the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Translational Genomics Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Danielle Frost, Bessie Meechoovet, Tong Wang, Stephen Gately, Marco Giorgetti, Irina Shcherbakova, Travis Dunckley. β-Carboline Compounds, Including Harmine, Inhibit DYRK1A and Tau Phosphorylation at Multiple Alzheimer's Disease-Related Sites. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (5): e19264 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019264

Cite This Page:

The Translational Genomics Research Institute. "Naturally occurring plant alkaloids could slow down Alzheimer's disease, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110526131244.htm>.
The Translational Genomics Research Institute. (2011, May 27). Naturally occurring plant alkaloids could slow down Alzheimer's disease, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110526131244.htm
The Translational Genomics Research Institute. "Naturally occurring plant alkaloids could slow down Alzheimer's disease, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110526131244.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. 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:

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