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 Periodic ventilation keeps more pollen out than tilted-open windows
29.03.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Improving memory with magnets
28.03.2017 | McGill University

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: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

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...

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

Periodic ventilation keeps more pollen out than tilted-open windows

29.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Researchers discover dust plays prominent role in nutrients of mountain forest ecoystems

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

OLED production facility from a single source

29.03.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>