Navigation Links
Computational model examines the pathways of Alzheimer's that strikes at the young

NEW ORLEANSAlzheimer's disease (AD) is a tragic disease that robs an individual of their memory and mental capacity. One in eight people over the age of 65 now suffer from the disease and one in two people over 85 are diagnosed with the disease. Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer's does not only affect the elderly. Familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD), an offshoot of the disease, affects those as young as 30.

The Study

Alzheimer's is a complex disease, and so too are the attempts to explain it. One way to understand how the brain works to cause the disorder is by using computational modeling, (a series of equations) to characterize an individual aspect that is important to the disease. Biomedical engineers Lydia S. Glaw and Thomas C. Skalak, Ph.D., of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, have created a model to examine the role of certain proteins in the development of the disease. Their findings are contained in the study entitled A Computational Model of the Role of Presenilin-1 and Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 in Familial Alzheimer's Disease. They will present their findings at the 122nd Annual Meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS;, which is part of the Experimental Biology 2009 scientific conference. The meeting will be held April 18-22, 2009 in New Orleans.

The researchers constructed a simple computational model to measure plaques and tangles and their influence in causing FAD. The model tested the hypothesis that certain variablesgenetic mutations in proteins and "tau" tanglesmight be predicative of the development of the disease. The main hypothesis that the model tested was the idea that GSK3 is a link between amyloid beta buildup and tau tangle development.

Brain Plaque: A Major Instigator?

The proteins presenilin-1 (PS1) (a mutated gene found in familial AD) and glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3) (a protein) and amyloid beta (Aβ) plaque (amino acids that are found in large quantity in AD) were studied to quantitatively examine their roles in the development of Alzheimer's pathology. The elements (in the form of existing research data) were applied to the model, which was constructed of kinetic equations developed from literature searches, and analyzed the interactions of the proteins and complexes under various scenarios. The model is a first-of-its-kind approach to modeling, understanding and predicting Alzheimer's pathways.

Results: No Link Between A Protein and Plaques, Tangles

GSK3 had a large effect on tangle formation, but very little on the plaques. Activating GSK3 was not found to be sufficient to cause changes in the brain to the extent seen in Alzheimer's patients. However, overproduction of GSK3 as opposed to activation may be able to cause those changes. Nor was there any link found between amyloid beta plaque and tau tangles. The main conclusion of the model so far is that no single change to the system can cause Alzheimer's disease. Multiple changes, such as a PS1 mutation combined with GSK3 over-activation can, however. A multi-pronged approach to treating the disease may be best.


Glaw's model can be used for additional pathway analysis. She views modeling as a useful way for better understanding this complex, multi-layered disease.


Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

Related biology news :

1. Computational actinide chemistry: Are we there yet?
2. Computational mathematical sciences receives NSF grant for undergraduate research
3. Computational biochemist uncovers a molecular clue to evolution
4. Penn presents inaugural symposium on applied mathematics and computational science
5. Supercomputer provides massive computational boost to biomedical research at TGen
6. New computational technique allows comparison of whole genomes as easily as whole books
7. Oxford Journals and the International Society for Computational Biology announce new partnership
8. 7th [BC]2 Basel Computational Biology Conference
9. Novel 3-D cell culture model shows selective tumor uptake of nanoparticles
10. A new kind of rat model
11. JILA finds flaw in model describing DNA elasticity
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/22/2016)... BETHESDA, Md. , June 22, 2016  The American ... by Trade Show Executive Magazine as one of ... Summit on May 25-27 at the Bellagio in ... based on the highest percentage of growth in each of ... number of exhibiting companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... Securus Technologies, a leading provider of ... safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced that after ... secured the final acceptance by all three (3) ... Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will have contracts ... by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between legitimate wireless ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016 ... deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety of ... during the major tournament Teleste, an ... systems and services, announced today that its video security solution ... to back up public safety across the country. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... GUELPH, ON , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM ... it has been advised by its major shareholders, Clean ... LP, United States based venture ... common shares of Biorem (on a fully diluted, as ... for the disposition of their entire equity holdings in ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 ... trials, announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which ... with the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... PHILADELPHIA , June 27, 2016  Liquid ... today announced the funding of a Sponsored Research ... study circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  ... changes in CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes ... therapies. These data will then be employed to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid biopsy ... PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) ... test has already been incorporated into numerous clinical ... Over 230 clinical trials are investigating ... PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs targeting ...
Breaking Biology Technology: