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 Nanoparticles as a Solution against Antibiotic Resistance?
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto 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: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>