Two short protein segments, called peptides, have been identified by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, for their ability to recognize and bind to beta-amyloid-containing plaques that accumulate abnormally in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients, providing a possible “Trojan horse” mechanism to diagnose and treat the disorder.
Paul T. Martin, Ph.D.
“These peptide sequences are potential new tools for the delivery of medication to the amyloid plaques that are found in Alzheimer’s disease, or for new diagnostic tests that would allow early identification and treatment of the disease,” said the study’s senior author, Paul T. Martin, Ph.D., UCSD assistant professor of neurosciences.
In studies published in the September issue of the journal Neurobiology of Disease (published online Aug. 27, 2003), Martin and colleagues found that natural and synthetic versions of the peptides attach themselves to the abnormal plaque, while ignoring normal brain tissue.
Sue Pondrom | UCSD
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