Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mechanism that could contribute to problems in Alzheimer's identified

Date:
April 26, 2012
Source:
Gladstone Institutes
Summary:
Scientists have unraveled a process by which depletion of a specific protein in the brain contributes to the memory problems associated with Alzheimer's disease. These findings provide new insights into the disease's development and may lead to new therapies that could benefit the millions of people worldwide suffering from Alzheimer's and other devastating neurological disorders.

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have unraveled a process by which depletion of a specific protein in the brain contributes to the memory problems associated with Alzheimer's disease. These findings provide insights into the disease's development and may lead to new therapies that could benefit the millions of people worldwide suffering from Alzheimer's and other devastating neurological disorders.

The study, led by Gladstone Investigator Jorge J. Palop, PhD, revealed that low levels of a protein, called Nav1.1, disrupt the electrical activity between brain cells. Such activity is crucial for healthy brain function and memory. Indeed, the researchers found that restoring Nav1.1 levels in mice that were genetically modified to mimic key aspects of Alzheimer's disease (AD-mice) improved learning and memory functions and increased their lifespan. Their findings are featured on the cover of the April 27 issue of Cell, available online April 26.

"It is estimated that more than 30 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's disease and that number is expected to rise dramatically in the near future," said Lennart Mucke, MD, who directs neurological research at Gladstone, an independent and nonprofit biomedical-research organization. "This research improves our understanding of the biological processes that underlie cognitive dysfunction in this disease and could open the door for new therapeutic interventions."

The researchers' findings suggest that Nav1.1 levels in special regulatory nerve cells called parvalbumin cells, or PV cells, are essential to generate healthy brain-wave activity -- and that problems in this process contribute to cognitive decline in AD-mice and possibly in patients with Alzheimer's.

In the brain, neurons form highly interconnected networks, using chemical and electrical signals to communicate with each other. The researchers investigated whether this communication between neurons is disrupted in AD-mice, and if so, how this may affect the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

To study this, they performed electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings -- a technique that detects abnormalities in the brain's electrical waves such as those found in patients with epilepsy. They found that similar abnormalities emerged during periods of reduced gamma-wave oscillations -- a type of brain wave that is crucial to regulating learning and memory.

"Like a conductor in an orchestra, PV cells regulate brain rhythms by precisely controlling excitatory brain activity," said Laure Verret, PhD, postdoctoral fellow and lead author. "We found that PV cells in patients with Alzheimer's and in AD-mice have low levels of the protein Nav1.1 -- likely contributing to PV cell dysfunction. As a consequence, AD-mice had abnormal brain rhythms. By restoring Nav1.1 levels, we were able to re-establish normal brain function."

Indeed, the scientists found that increasing Nav1.1 levels in PV cells improves brain wave activity, learning, memory and survival rates in AD-mice.

"Enhancing Nav1.1 activity, and consequently improving PV cell function, may help in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders associated with gamma-wave alterations and cognitive impairments such as epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia," said Dr. Palop, who is also an assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, with which Gladstone is affiliated. "These findings may allow us to develop therapies to help patients with these devastating diseases."

Other scientists who participated in this research at Gladstone include Giao Hang, PhD, Kaitlyn Ho, Nino Devidze, PhD, and Anatol Kreitzer, PhD. Funding was provided by a variety of sources, including the National Institutes of Health, the Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Philippe Foundation and the Pew and McKnight Foundations.


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. Laure Verret, EdwardO. Mann, GiaoB. Hang, AlbertM.I. Barth, Inma Cobos, Kaitlyn Ho, Nino Devidze, Eliezer Masliah, AnatolC. Kreitzer, Istvan Mody, Lennart Mucke, JorgeJ. Palop. Inhibitory Interneuron Deficit Links Altered Network Activity and Cognitive Dysfunction in Alzheimer Model. Cell, 2012; 149 (3): 708 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.02.046

Cite This Page:

Gladstone Institutes. "Mechanism that could contribute to problems in Alzheimer's identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120426135230.htm>.
Gladstone Institutes. (2012, April 26). Mechanism that could contribute to problems in Alzheimer's identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120426135230.htm
Gladstone Institutes. "Mechanism that could contribute to problems in Alzheimer's identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120426135230.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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