Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lithium shows promise against Alzheimer’s in mouse model

22.05.2003


An enzyme crucial to formation of Alzheimer’s plaques and tangles may hold promise as a target for future medications, suggest studies in mice and cells. By blocking the enzyme, lithium stems the accumulation of beta amyloid, which forms Alzheimer’s plaques, scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report in the May 22, 2003 Nature. Inhibiting the enzyme, glycogen synthase kinase – 3 alpha (GSK-3 alpha), also blocks formation of neurofibrilary tangles by the tau protein.



"Although widely used to treat bipolar disorder, lithium’s propensity to cause side-effects may limit its use in older people, who are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease," cautioned Peter Klein, M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who led the research team, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA). It will also be important to develop "new agents" that specifically target GSK-3 alpha, he added.

To pinpoint the enzyme’s role in the formation of amyloid plaques, the researchers first treated cells expressing the amyloid precursor protein with lithium, which they had earlier shown blocks GSK-3. Therapeutic doses of lithium inhibited the production of beta amyloid. Another GSK-3 inhibitor, structurally unrelated to lithium, also reduced production of beta amyloid, as did blocking expression of the GSK-3 alpha protein. Likewise, raising GSK-3 alpha levels enhanced beta amyloid production. These experiments established that the enzyme is required for maximal amyloid processing.


In mouse neurons expressing amyloid precursor protein, lithium significantly reduced production of beta amyloid. A therapeutic dose of lithium also markedly reduced the peptides and beta amyloid production in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease -- mice carrying mutations that are known to cause inherited Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

Since certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) similarly reduce beta amyloid levels, but via a slightly different mechanism, the researchers suggest that combination therapy with lithium and NSAIDs could have an enhanced effect in reducing amyloid peptide accumulation.

Lithium also protects neurons from stimuli that trigger programmed neuronal cell death in Alzheimer’s disease. Pending development of new medications that target the enzyme, the researchers suggest that lithium "might be considered for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in younger patients with an inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease or Down’s syndrome."

The new findings have spurred interest in whether patients taking lithium for bipolar disorder might have a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, Klein noted.

Other participants in the study were: Drs. Christopher Phiel, Christina Wilson, Virginia M.-Y. Lee., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.


###
NIMH and NIA are part of the NIH, the Federal Government’s primary agency for biomedical and behavioral research. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Contacts: Jules Asher
NIMH press office
301-443-4536
jasher@nih.gov

Doug Dollomore
NIA press office
301-496-1752
dollemod@nia.nih.gov

Jules Asher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bipolarmenu.cfm
http://www.alzheimers.org/unraveling/index.htm

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>