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.

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 23, 2014 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 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2014) According to researchers at Albright College, women have the ability to make their voices sound sexier, but men don't. 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