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 Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University

nachricht Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>