Several neurologically based afflictions, such as Huntingtons, Parkinsons, and Alzheimer diseases, have been correlated to a higher than normal presence of a specific type of enzymes, called transglutaminases (TGase) in the human body. TGases, whose function is to catalyze covalent bonds among proteins, are commonly found in several different human tissues.
In the presence of unusually high levels of these enzymes, some proteins tend to form denser clusters than normal in vivo. If the aggregates grow in size, it can lead to a build-up of insoluble plaques that can block neurovascular transport and cause neural cell death.
"If higher TGase concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid and in the brain lead to protein agglomeration, then their inhibition could reduce symptoms, delay the onset of agglomeration, and maintain viable neural cell health extending the quality of life for those afflicted," hypothesizes Brian Love, a professor of materials science and engineering (MSE) at Virginia Tech.
Lynn Nystrom | EurekAlert!
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