Antibodies Versus Alzheimer's Disease

Via EurekAlert!: "Alzheimer's disease is characterized by abnormal deposits in the brain of the protein Amyloid-ß, which induces the loss of connections between neurons, called synapses. Now, scientists [have] discovered that specific antibodies that block the function of a related protein, called Dkk1, are able to completely suppress the toxic effect of Amyloid-ß on synapses. ... Dkk1 is elevated in the brain biopsies of people with Alzheimer's disease but the significance of these findings was previously unknown. Scientists [have] found that Amyloid-ß causes the production of Dkk1, which in turn induces the dismantling of synapses (the connections between neurons) in the hippocampus, an area of the brain implicated in learning and memory. ... scientists conducted experiments to look at the progression of synapse disintegration of the hippocampus after exposure to Amyloid-ß, using brain slices from mice. They were able to monitor how many synapses survived in the presence of a specific antibody which targets Dkk1, compared to how many synapses were viable without the antibody. The results show that the neurons that were exposed to the antibody remained healthy, with no synaptic disintegration."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/ucl-sdt030512.php

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