Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low levels of toxic proteins linked to brain diseases, study suggests

Date:
July 2, 2013
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's could be better understood thanks to insight into proteins linked to such conditions, a study suggests.

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's could be better understood thanks to insight into proteins linked to such conditions, a study suggests.

Scientists studying thread-like chains of protein -- called amyloid fibres -- have found that low levels of these proteins may cause more harm to health than high levels.

These rarely formed protein chains, which have been linked with dozens of diseases, are produced as a result of a genetic flaw or changes in body chemistry brought about by ageing.

When this happens, short fibres are formed which become sticky and attract copies of themselves, forming an endless chain. These chains spontaneously break, creating more filament ends to which more proteins attach.

In the context of neurodegenerative diseases, it is these short, broken pieces that seem to be most harmful, scientists say.

Researchers have found that when protein levels are low, lots of short protein threads are formed. But when protein levels are high, this spontaneous breakage stops and most protein filaments remain long.

Compared with harmful short protein fibres, long fibres do not appear to be damaging in the case of neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers therefore believe that high levels of the protein -- which lead to these longer chains -- may actually be protective.

In addition to shedding light on disease, this insight into the protein chains may help scientists develop useful biomaterials, such as cell scaffolds, which are used for tissue engineering or to make artificial silk.

Cait MacPhee, Professor of Biological Physics at the University of Edinburgh's School of Physics and Astronomy, said; "We would expect that the higher the level of toxins, the worse the disease. However, in this study we found that the lower the level of the protein, the more of these damaging short fibres we see. Understanding how these protein chains form offers us insight not only into how diseases progress, but how we can produce controlled biomaterials for tissue engineering."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Ryan J. Morris, Kym Eden, Reuben Yarwood, Line Jourdain, Rosalind J. Allen, Cait E. MacPhee. Mechanistic and environmental control of the prevalence and lifetime of amyloid oligomers. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1891 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2909

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Low levels of toxic proteins linked to brain diseases, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702100954.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2013, July 2). Low levels of toxic proteins linked to brain diseases, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702100954.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Low levels of toxic proteins linked to brain diseases, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130702100954.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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