Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists link vascular gene to Alzheimer’s disease

15.08.2005


Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center have discovered a link between a prominent developmental gene and neurovascular dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease.

The gene plays a major role in the growth and remodeling of vascular systems. But, in brain cells of people with Alzheimer’s disease, expression of the gene is low, the scientists found, revealing a new piece of the Alzheimer’s puzzle.

In laboratory studies, the scientists also showed that restoration of the gene expression level in the human brain cells stimulated the formation of new blood vessels. It also increased the level of a protein that removes amyloid beta peptide, the toxin that builds up in brain tissue in Alzheimer’s disease.



In further studies, the scientists, led by Berislav Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D., deleted one copy of the gene in mice, creating echoes of the damage of Alzheimer’s, including reduced ability to grow blood vessels in the brain and impaired clearance of amyloid beta.

"This is a new pathway for the study and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease," said Zlokovic. "This gene could be a therapeutic target. If we can stop this cycle, we could slow or stop the progression of the neuronal component of this disease."

An article by Zlokovic and his team detailing the research findings appears Sunday Aug. 14 in the online version of Nature Medicine. The article will be published in the September print edition of Nature Medicine.

Zlokovic is a professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Neurosurgery and director of the Frank P. Smith Laboratories for Neuroscience and Neurosurgical Research.

The gene targeted in the research is a homeobox gene known as MEOX2 and also as GAX. A homeobox gene encodes proteins that determine development. Zlokovic calls it a "big boss."

The scientists studied human brain endothelial cells taken from autopsy samples from people with Alzheimer’s. They found that expression of MEOX2, or mesenchyme homeobox 2, is low in the cells of those with Alzheimer’s.

"The cells with low levels can’t form any kind of vascular system or any kind of network," Zlokovic said. "They just start dying."

In restoring expression of the gene, the Rochester scientists showed for the first time that it suppresses a specific transcription factor. When the expression of MEOX2 is low, the factor "rampages" and allows apoptosis or programmed cell death in the brain vascular system, Zlokovic said.

When MEOX2 expression is low, the research also showed that a protein that helps with the clearance of amyloid beta is suppressed.

Zlokovic views the findings reported in Nature Medicine as support for his belief that Alzheimer’s is a neurovascular disease.

"If you find a problem in the brain, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it started in the brain," he said. "It’s not that neuronal injury is not important. It’s that other things are more important."

But Zlokovic said that it is not clear yet whether the low expression of the gene results in the death of brain cells and Alzheimer’s disease or that the disease in neurons results in the low expression of the disease.

"But if we can restore the dysfunctional gene, we might be able to slow or stop the disease wherever it started," Zlokovic said.

Michael Wentzel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>