Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ground-breaking new insight into the development of Alzheimer’s disease

23.04.2008
According to estimates there are 85,000 Alzheimer patients in our country and approximately 20,000 new cases every year. This spectacular increase is due to the increasing ageing population.

Unfortunately it is still unclear precisely which ageing process forms the basis of this spectacular rise in the occurrence of the disease. VIB scientists affiliated to K.U.Leuven have discovered an important molecular link between Alzheimer’s disease and the development of the typical plaques in the brains of Alzheimer patients. This discovery is an important breakthrough in the fundamental research into the cause of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer’s disease: a growing problem

Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease that slowly and gradually destroys brain cells, is the most common form of dementia in the Western world. The way in which it affects the memory and mental functioning makes it one of the most frightening disorders. Over the last 15 years the amount of research worldwide into this still incurable disease has grown considerably: faster diagnosis of the disease and better treatment are essential!

Amyloid plaques and Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is associated with amyloid plaques – i.e. abnormal accumulations of protein fragments – that form in the brain cells. A few years ago Bart De Strooper and other researchers unravelled the process by which these plaques develop in the familial form of Alzheimer’s disease (less common form). ß-secretase, which cuts proteins at a specific location – plays an important role here. Sometimes the secretase cuts in the wrong place, which results in a by-product and thus the formation of plaques. In the most common form of the disorder the same sort of plaques are found, but there is still little known about their development mechanism.

BACE1 or ß-secretase

In patients with the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease the brain cells show an increase in the protein BACE1 or ß-secretase. VIB researcher Sébastien Hébert and colleagues, under the direction of Bart De Strooper and in collaboration with international experts, looked into the cause of this increase.

To this end the VIB researchers checked the expression profiles of certain microRNA’s, i.e. the short pieces of RNA that regulate protein production. In patients where there was an increase in the BACE1 protein, there was a significant reduction in miR-29a and miR-29b-1. This observation suggests the possible role of certain miRNA’s in the increase of BACE1 and in the formation of plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

On the one hand this research raises hopes for a better diagnostic test. Timely prescription of certain medicines for Alzheimer’s disease results after all in a better response, and thus a better quality of life for the patient. On the other hand there is the question of whether these microRNA’s could in the future form the basis of a new drug.

Evy Vierstraete | alfa
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>