Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Color-coded markers may help doctors diagnose neural diseases through the eyes

Date:
August 15, 2012
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
Scientists have devised several new fluorescent probes that change color depending on what type of amyloid they encounter. Because amyloids accumulate in the eye as well as the brain, their discovery offers hope that one day neurodegenerative diseases could be differentially diagnosed with simple eye drops or ointment and an eye exam.

Sticky plaques of proteins called amyloids mark several different, though related degenerative brain diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeld-Jacobs. The symptoms of these disorders overlap and methods to diagnose and monitor them are not very advanced.

Related Articles


To solve this problem, scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have devised several new fluorescent probes that change color depending on what type of amyloid they encounter. Because amyloids accumulate in the eye as well as the brain, their discovery offers hope that one day neurodegenerative diseases could be differentially diagnosed with simple eye drops or ointment and an eye exam.

"The key trick here is that the small differences in the proteins that make up different forms of amyloid interact differently with our fluorescent probes to result in measurably different colors of the emitted light," said Jerry Yang who, along with Emmanuel Theodorakis, led the project. Both are professors of chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego. Christina Sigurdson from the Department of Pathology at UC San Diego's School of Medicine was a key collaborator in this work.

The colors vary depending on the physical properties of pockets in the different amyloid proteins. The team demonstrated that one of their probes glows yellow when marking amyloid deposits associated with prion disease, and green when it binds to amyloids associated with Alzheimer's disease in tissue samples, for example. Their findings are published online this week by the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Among the few available diagnostics for Alzheimer's disease are radioactive molecules that target amyloid, which can be detected in the brain using positron emission tomography or PET scans. But that test only says whether amyloid has formed in the brain without distinguishing between the various types.

"We think that our approach represents a significant step towards developing diagnostics to distinguish between different, but closely related diseases where symptoms and pathological characteristics show may similarities," Yang said. "Such capability might prove to be very important for deciding on effective treatment strategies for specific diseases."

Now that they have learned how physical properties of amyloid control the colors of their markers, they are expanding their catalog to create probes for discriminating between other forms of amyloid.

The technology has been licensed for commercial development of diagnostic tests for human neural disease.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Kevin Cao, Mona Farahi, Marianna Dakanali, Willy M. Chang, Christina J. Sigurdson, Emmanuel A Theodorakis, Jerry Yang. Amino Naphthalenyl-2-Cyano-Acrylate (ANCA) Probes Fluorescently Discriminate between Amyloid-β and Prion Plaques in Brain. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2012; 120806131705004 DOI: 10.1021/ja3063698

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Color-coded markers may help doctors diagnose neural diseases through the eyes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120815093301.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2012, August 15). Color-coded markers may help doctors diagnose neural diseases through the eyes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120815093301.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Color-coded markers may help doctors diagnose neural diseases through the eyes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120815093301.htm (accessed April 17, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 17, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. 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