Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Prion disease treatable if caught early

01.02.2007
Studies in mice have indicated that the effects of prion disease could be reversed if caught early enough.

The researchers said that their findings support developing early treatments that aim to reduce levels of prion protein in the brains of people with prion disease. Also, they said that their findings suggest testing the efficacy of treatments in a new way: by analyzing their cognitive effects in prion-infected mice.

The researchers, Giovanna Mallucci and colleagues, reported their findings in the February 1, 2007 issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.

Prion disease—such as the version of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease believed to be contracted from cattle with "mad cow disease"—is caused by aberrant, infective proteins. It has been thought that the disease is untreatable.

... more about:
»brain cell »cognitive »deficits »findings

However, in previous studies with prion-infected mice, Mallucci and colleagues found that early brain degeneration can be reversed if prions are depleted in neurons.

In the new studies published in Neuron, they established that cognitive and behavioral impairments—which appear early in humans with prion disease—can be reversed if prion depletion is done early. What’s more, they found that the neurological pathology of the disease is reversed along with the cognitive and behavioral deficits.

In their studies, the researchers measured the effects of prion disease on the animals’ ability to discriminate novel objects in their cage and on normal burrowing behavior. In both cases, deficits in those abilities appeared early in the disease. Also, studies of the animals’ brain tissue revealed a parallel impairment of signaling among brain cells.

However, when the researchers manipulated the animals to deplete their brains of the prion protein, their memory ability and burrowing behavior recovered. Importantly, found the researchers, the signaling among brain cells also recovered.

"Overall, we conclude that the dramatic benefits to neuronal function and survival in prion-infected mice we have shown here support targeting neuronal [prion protein] directly as a therapeutic approach," wrote Mallucci and colleagues.

"Our findings of early reversible neurophysiological and cognitive deficits occurring prior to neuronal loss open new avenues in the prion field," they wrote. "To date, prion infection in mice has conventionally been diagnosed when motor deficits reflect advanced neurodegeneration. Now the identification of earlier dysfunction helps direct the study of mechanisms of neurotoxicity and therapies to earlier stages of disease, when rescue is still possible.

"Eventually it may also enable preclinical testing of therapeutic strategies through cognitive endpoints. These data now lead to the hope that early intervention in human prion disease will not only halt clinical progression but allow reversal of early behavioral and cognitive abnormalities," wrote the scientists.

Erin Doonan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cell.com

Further reports about: brain cell cognitive deficits findings

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>