Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Different forms of amyloid beta in Alzheimer’s disease harm neurons in different ways

01.06.2006


Study suggests retargeting efforts to slow or stop neural cell loss in the neurodegenerative disorder



Researchers at UC Irvine have shown that different forms of amyloid beta lead to neural damage in different ways, leading to an increasingly complex view of amyloid toxicity in the Alzheimer brain. The finding could modify the way therapeutic approaches for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are designed.

The researchers studied the effects of different forms of the amyloid beta peptide on human brain cells. Amyloid beta accumulation is one of two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease and is considered a major target for researchers looking into therapies for the treatment of the disease. After death, most amyloid beta found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is in fibrillar form – long, insoluble fibers bound together in deposits called senile plaques; however, there are also soluble forms of amyloid beta, or oligomers, that may decisively contribute to neural degeneration.


The experiments conducted at UCI showed that the soluble forms of amyloid beta are much more toxic and lead to neuronal death in as little as 12 hours. The fibrillar form, meanwhile, does not actually kill the neurons, but slowly, over a period of 10 or more days, renders them useless.

Not known is whether the soluble amyloid beta in the Alzheimer brain eventually turns into the fibrillar kind, or whether the two are completely different.

The findings were published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience.

“These findings are quite significant because, although both fibrils and oligomers may contribute to dementia, they do so in very different ways over different time spans,” said Jorge Busciglio, an assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior. “This complexity of the amyloid beta species will require more sophisticated therapeutic approaches. For example, it might be dangerous to create compounds that target fibrillar amyloid and try to break them up, because if the fibers dissolve into the soluble form, that could actually speed up cell death and the onset of dementia rather than treat it.”

Atul Deshpande, a graduate student in Busciglio’s laboratory, tested one preparation of fibrillar amyloid beta and two soluble ones, which resemble the types found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. In less than 12 hours, the human neurons exposed to one of the two soluble forms started to die. Most of the cells were dead after 24 hours. The cells exposed to the other soluble form took about five times longer to die. In contrast, the brain cells treated with the fibrillar form slowly degenerated. The axons and dendrites in the cells became twisted and rendered the cell functionally useless. For the most part, however, the cells did not die.

According to the scientists, previous research has shown that the brain levels of soluble amyloid beta appear to correlate better with severity of cognitive impairment than the number and density of plaques found in the brain. Then, the more soluble beta amyloid is present, the more severe and rapid the onset of the disease.

Researchers now will have to determine why the soluble form of beta amyloid is so much more toxic. One theory is it binds to neuronal connections, or gateways into the cell, and gives soluble amyloid beta easier, quicker access into the neuron. The UCI research also showed that the soluble form quickly impairs the function of mitochondria, the cells’ energy generators. Brain cells consume more energy than any other cell in the body. If that energy source dies, the cells die as well.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, affecting 4.5 million to 5 million adults in the United States. If no effective therapies are developed, it is estimated that 13 million Americans will be afflicted with the disease by 2050. It is the third-most-expensive disease to treat and the third-leading cause of death, behind cancer and coronary heart disease.

Along with Busciglio and Deshpande, researchers on the study were Charles Glabe, a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and graduate researcher Erene Mina. The study was funded by grants from the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Institutes of Health and the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation.

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

Television: UCI has a broadcast studio available for live or taped interviews. For more information, visit www.today.uci.edu/broadcast.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. The use of this line is available free-of-charge to radio news programs/stations who wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.

Farnaz Khadem | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uci.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Hope to discover sure signs of life on Mars? New research says look for the element vanadium
22.09.2017 | University of Kansas

nachricht Calculating quietness
22.09.2017 | Forschungszentrum MATHEON ECMath

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>