More on Cellular Housekeeping Versus Neurodegenerative Diseases

Researchers recently demonstrated that increased cellular housekeeping could slow neurodegeneration, and here a different group show the same outcome: "Cells, which employ a process called autophagy to clean up and reuse protein debris leftover from biological processes, were the original recyclers. A team of scientists [have] linked a molecule that stimulates autophagy with the reduction of one of Alzheimer's disease's major hallmarks, amyloid peptide. Their finding suggests a mechanism that could be used to eliminate built-up proteins in diseases such as Alzheimer's, Down syndrome, Huntingdon's and amyloid-beta, the protein aggregates that cause Alzheimer's plaques. Increasing autophagy, either through a drug or a natural process such as diet, could improve the outcome for people with neurodegenerative diseases ... The researchers [tested] various compounds for their ability to reduce the buildup of amyloid-beta by exposing cultured cells to compounds known to activate autophagy. They then compared the effect of these compounds by removing growth factors from the culture medium, a well-established stimulant of autophagy known as 'starvation.' The researchers found that SMER28 was the most effective compound, and focused their studies on it to characterize the cellular components involved in this phenomenon. They compared the effect of SMER28 on amyloid-beta formation using normal cells or cells where the expression of genes known to be involved in autophagy was reduced or abolished. They found that three important autophagic players were involved, and one of them was essential for SMER28's effect."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-03/ru-mts031611.php

Comments

SMER28-type molecules look very interesting.

It is important to know, though, whether prolonged activation of autophagy might induce inflammation, as suggested in

"Regulation of innate immune responses by autophagy-related proteins"
http://jcb.rupress.org/content/189/6/925.full.pdf

Maybe on-off cycling is optimal.

Posted by: Lou Pagnucco at March 17th, 2011 12:58 PM

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