Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early sign of Alzheimer's reversed in lab

Date:
December 1, 2011
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
One of the earliest known impairments caused by Alzheimer's disease -- loss of sense of smell -- can be restored by removing a plaque-forming protein in a mouse model of the disease, a new study shows. The study confirms that the protein, called amyloid beta, causes the loss.

One of the earliest known impairments caused by Alzheimer's disease -- loss of sense of smell -- can be restored by removing a plaque-forming protein in a mouse model of the disease, a study led by a Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researcher finds.

The study confirms that the protein, called amyloid beta, causes the loss.

"The evidence indicates we can use the sense of smell to determine if someone may get Alzheimer's disease, and use changes in sense of smell to begin treatments, instead of waiting until someone has issues learning and remembering," said Daniel Wesson, assistant professor of neuroscience at Case Western Reserve and lead investigator. "We can also use smell to see if therapies are working."

A description of the research is published in the Nov. 2 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Smell loss can be caused by a number of ailments, exposures and injuries; but since the 1970s, it has been identified as an early sign of this disease. The new research shows how and where in the brain this happens, and that the impairment it can be treated.

"Understanding smell loss, we think, will hold some clues about how to slow down this disease," Wesson said.

There is currently no effective treatment or cure for the disease, marked by eroding senses, cognition and coordination, leading to death. Currently 5.3 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's and the number is expected to triple to 16 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Wesson worked with Anne H. Borkowski, a researcher at the Nathan S. Kline Institute in Orangeburg, N.Y., Gary E. Landreth, professor of neuroscience at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, and Ralph A. Nixon, Efrat Levy and Donald A. Wilson, of the New York University School of Medicine.

They found that just a tiny amount of amyloid beta -- too little to be seen on today's brain scans -- causes smell loss in mouse models.

Amyloid beta plaque accumulated first in parts of the brain associated with smell, well before accumulating in areas associated with cognition and coordination.

Early on, the olfactory bulb, where odor information from the nose is processed, became hyperactive.

Over time, however, the level of amyloid beta increased in the olfactory bulb and the bulb became hypoactive. Despite spending more time sniffing, the mice failed to remember smells and became incapable of telling the difference between odors.

The same pattern is seen in people with the disease. They become unresponsive to smells as they age.

While losses in the olfactory system occurred, the rest of the mouse model brain, including the hippocampus, which is a center for memory, continued to act normally early in the disease stage.

"This shows the unique vulnerability of the olfactory system to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease," Wesson said.

The team then sought to reverse the effects. Mice were given a synthetic liver x-receptor agonist, a drug that clears amyloid beta from the brain. After two weeks on the drug, the mice could process smells normally.

After withdrawal of the drug for one week, impairments returned.

Wesson and his team are now following-up on these discoveries to determine how amyloid spreads throughout the brain, to learn methods to slow disease progression.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. D. W. Wesson, A. H. Borkowski, G. E. Landreth, R. A. Nixon, E. Levy, D. A. Wilson. Sensory Network Dysfunction, Behavioral Impairments, and Their Reversibility in an Alzheimer's -Amyloidosis Mouse Model. Journal of Neuroscience, 2011; 31 (44): 15962 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2085-11.2011

Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "Early sign of Alzheimer's reversed in lab." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111130100453.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2011, December 1). Early sign of Alzheimer's reversed in lab. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111130100453.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "Early sign of Alzheimer's reversed in lab." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111130100453.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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