Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
PZ HTL SA
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING

Receptor May Help Spread of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in Brain

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 10 Sep 2013
Image: Electron micrograph shows clumps of corrupted tau protein outside a nerve cell. Scientists have identified a receptor that lets these clumps into the cell, where the corruption can spread. Blocking this receptor with drugs may help treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other disorders (Photo courtesy of PNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Image: Electron micrograph shows clumps of corrupted tau protein outside a nerve cell. Scientists have identified a receptor that lets these clumps into the cell, where the corruption can spread. Blocking this receptor with drugs may help treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other disorders (Photo courtesy of PNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Scientists have found the process in which corrupted, disease-causing proteins spread in the brain, potentially contributing to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain-damaging disorders.

The research identifies a specific type of receptor and suggests that blocking it may help treat of these disorders. The receptors are called heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). “Many of the enzymes that create HSPGs or otherwise help them function are good targets for drug treatments,” said senior author Marc I. Diamond, MD, a professor of neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (MO, USA). “We ultimately should be able to hit these enzymes with drugs and potentially disrupt several neurodegenerative conditions.”

The study’s findings were published online August 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). Over the 10 years, Dr. Diamond has gathered evidence that Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders spread through the brain in a manner similar to conditions such as mad cow disease, which are caused by misfolded proteins known as prions.

Dr. Diamond and his colleagues have shown that a part of nerve cells’ inner structure known as tau protein can misfold into a formation called an amyloid. These corrupted versions of tau adhere to each other in clumps within the cells. Similar to prions, the clumps spread from one cell to another, seeding additional dispersal by causing copies of tau protein in the new cell to change into amyloids.

In the new study, first author Brandon Holmes, an MD/PhD student, demonstrated that HSPGs are necessary for binding, internalizing, and dispersing clumps of tau. When he genetically inactivated or chemically modified the HSPGs in cell cultures and in a mouse model, clumps of tau could not enter cells, thereby suppressing the spread of misfolded tau from cell to cell. Mr. Holmes also found that HSPGs are essential for the cell-to-cell spread of degraded forms of alpha-synuclein, a protein linked to Parkinson’s disease.

“This suggests that it may one day be possible to unify our understanding and treatment of two or more broad classes of neurodegenerative disease,” Dr. Diamond concluded. “We’re now sorting through about 15 genes to determine which are the most essential for HSPGs’ interaction with tau,” Mr. Holmes said. “That will tell us which proteins to target with new drug treatments.”

Related Links:
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Channels

Drug Discovery

view channel

Retinoic Acid Prevents Precancerous Breast Cells from Progressing to Full-Blown Cancer

Retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, was found to prevent pre-cancerous breast cells from progressing to full-blown cancer but did not have any effect on breast tumor cells. Investigators at Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, PA, USA) worked with a novel breast cancer model that had been developed by treating... Read more

Biochemistry

view channel

Mitochondrial Cause of Aging Can Be Reversed

Researchers have found a cause of aging in lab animals that can be reversed, possibly providing an avenue for new treatments for age-related diseases including type 2 diabetes, cancer, muscle wasting, and inflammatory diseases. The researchers plan to begin human trials late 2014. The study, which was published December... Read more

Therapeutics

view channel

Cytokine Identified That Causes Mucositis in Cancer Therapy Patients

The action of the cytokine interleukin 1-beta (IL-1beta) has been found to underlie the onset of mucositis, a common, severe side effect of chemotherapy and irradiation of cancer patients. Mucositis occurs as a result of cell death in reaction to chemo- or radiotherapy. The mucosal lining of the mouth becomes thin, may... Read more

Business

view channel

Analytical Sciences Trade Fair Declared a Rousing Success

Organizers of this year's 24th "analytica" biosciences trade fair have reported significant increases in both the number of visitors and exhibitors compared to the 2012 event. The analytica trade fair for laboratory technology, analysis, and biotechnology has been held at the Munich (Germany) Trade Fair Center every... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.