Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
RANDOX LABORATORIES

Events

05 Mar 2017 - 09 Mar 2017
20 Mar 2017 - 23 Mar 2017

High GABA Level Astrocytes Are a New Alzheimer's Disease Biomarker and Drug Target

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 25 Jun 2014
Image: This image shows a microscopic view of the high concentration (red) of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the reactive astrocytes (green) in the human brain with Alzheimer\'s disease (Photo courtesy of Dr. Gong Chen, Pennsylvania State University).
Image: This image shows a microscopic view of the high concentration (red) of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the reactive astrocytes (green) in the human brain with Alzheimer\'s disease (Photo courtesy of Dr. Gong Chen, Pennsylvania State University).
ADVERTISEMENT
SARTORIUS AG
Cells comprising an abnormal class of brain cells called reactive astrocytes contain high levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and are being eyed by researchers as a potential biomarker and drug target for Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Amyloid plaques and tau tangles are common pathological characteristics of AD. However, drugs designed to reduce production of the Abeta peptides that form amyloid plaques failed to relieve the symptoms of AD patients. Now, a paper published the June 13, 2014, online edition of the journal Nature Communications reported the presence of high GABA content in reactive astrocytes in the dentate gyrus (DG) of a mouse model for AD that resulted in increased tonic inhibition and memory deficit.

Investigators at Pennsylvania State University (University Park, USA) also confirmed the presence of astrocytes with a high GABA content in human AD patient brains. This finding suggested that a high astrocytic GABA level may be a novel biomarker and a potential diagnostic tool for AD.

They also considered the possibility of developing drugs to target these high GABA level astrocytes after it was found that excessive GABA was released through an astrocyte-specific GABA transporter (GAT3/4).

"Our studies of AD mice showed that the high concentration of the GABA neurotransmitter in the reactive astrocytes of the dentate gyrus correlates with the animals' poor performance on tests of learning and memory," said senior author Dr. Gong Chen, professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University. "After we inhibited the astrocytic GABA transporter to reduce GABA inhibition in the brains of the AD mice, we found that they showed better memory capability than the control AD mice. We are very excited and encouraged by this result because it might explain why previous clinical trials failed by targeting amyloid plaques alone. One possible explanation is that while amyloid plaques may be reduced by targeting amyloid proteins, the other downstream alterations triggered by amyloid deposits, such as the excessive GABA inhibition discovered in our study, cannot be corrected by targeting amyloid proteins alone. Our studies suggest that reducing the excessive GABA inhibition to the neurons in the brain's dentate gyrus may lead to a novel therapy for Alzheimer's disease. An ultimate successful therapy may be a cocktail of compounds acting on several drug targets simultaneously."

Related Links:

Pennsylvania State University 



Channels

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: The experimental drug NGI-1 slows cancer growth by blocking glycosylation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is shown in the above diagram (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Experimental Drug Slows Lung Cancer Growth by Blocking Protein Glycosylation

An interesting new experimental anti-cancer drug slows growth of certain lung tumor cells by preventing the glycosylation of critical cell surface receptor proteins. Asparagine (N)-linked glycosylation... Read more

Biochemistry

view channel
Image: A space-filling model of the anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Wastewater May Contaminate Crops with Potentially Dangerous Pharmaceuticals

Reclaimed wastewater used to irrigate crops is contaminated with pharmaceutical residues that can be detected in the urine of those who consumed such produce. Investigators at the Hebrew University... Read more

Business

view channel

Collaborative Agreement to Aid in Setting Guidelines for Evaluating Potential Ebola Therapy

Cooperation between an Israeli biopharmaceutical company and medical branches of the US government is designed to set ground rules for continued evaluation of an experimental therapy for Ebola virus disease. RedHill Biopharma Ltd. (Tel Aviv, Israel), a biopharmaceutical company primarily focused on development and c... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2016 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.