Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers crack degeneration process that leads to Alzheimer's

Date:
March 8, 2012
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Scientists have uncovered a critical process in understanding the degeneration of brain cells sensitive to Alzheimer's disease (AD). The study suggests that this discovery could help develop alternative AD therapies.

A research group led by Dr. A. Claudio Cuello of McGill University's Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, has uncovered a critical process in understanding the degeneration of brain cells sensitive to Alzheimer's disease (AD). The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that this discovery could help develop alternative AD therapies.

A breakdown in communication between the brain's neurons is thought to contribute to the memory loss and cognitive failure seen in people with AD. The likely suspect is NGF (Nerve Growth Factor), a molecule responsible for generating signals that maintain healthy cholinergic neurons -- a subset of brain cells that are particularly sensitive to AD -- throughout a person's lifetime. Oddly, scientists had never been able to find anything wrong with this molecule to explain the degeneration of cholinergic neurons in patients with AD.

This new study, however, has elucidated the process by which NGF is released in the brain, matures to an active form and is ultimately degraded. The researchers were also able to determine how this process is altered in AD. The group demonstrated that treatment of healthy adult rats with a drug that blocks the maturation of active NGF leads to AD-like losses of cholinergic functional units, which result in cognitive impairments. By contrast, when treated with a drug to prevent degradation of active NGF, the numbers of cholinergic contacts increased significantly.

"Part of the difficulty in understanding this pathway has been due to the technical challenges associated with differentiating the active and inactive forms of NGF," explained Dr. Simon Allard, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at McGill. "Our proposed manipulations are different from existing therapies as they aim to protect neurons from degeneration."

The authors suggest that these findings may lead to pharmacological treatments that could delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease. "This discovery should help design alternative therapies," said Dr. Cuello, a Charles E. Frosst / Merck Chair.

This study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and an endowment from Alan Frosst and the Frosst family.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Simon Allard, Wanda C. Leon, Prateep Pakavathkumar, Martin A. Bruno, Alfredo Ribeiro-Da-Silva, and A. Claudio Cuello. Impact of the NGF Maturation and Degradation Pathway on the Cortical Cholinergic System Phenotype. Journal of Neuroscience, Feb 2012 DOI: 10.1523/%u200BJNEUROSCI.1144-11.2012

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Researchers crack degeneration process that leads to Alzheimer's." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308132806.htm>.
McGill University. (2012, March 8). Researchers crack degeneration process that leads to Alzheimer's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308132806.htm
McGill University. "Researchers crack degeneration process that leads to Alzheimer's." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308132806.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) 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