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New molecule protects brain from detrimental effects linked to diabetes and high blood sugar
Date:1/28/2014

Researchers at the Hebrew university of Jerusalem have created a molecule that could potentially lower diabetic patients' higher risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Recent studies indicate that high levels of sugar in the blood in diabetics and non-diabetics are a risk factor for the development of dementia, impaired cognition, and a decline of brain function. Diabetics have also been found to have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared to non-diabetics. Now, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found a potential neuro-inflammatory pathway that could be responsible for the increases of diabetics' risk of Alzheimer's and dementia. They also reveal a potential treatment to reverse this process.

The research group led by Prof. Daphne Atlas, of the Department of Biological Chemistry in the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University, experimented with diabetic rats to examine the mechanism of action that may be responsible for changes in the brain due to high sugar levels. The researchers found that diabetic rats displayed high activity of enzymes called MAPK kinases, which are involved in facilitating cellular responses to a variety of stimuli, leading to inflammatory activity in brain cells and the early death of cells.

The study shows that the diabetic rats given a daily injection of the sugar-lowering drug rosiglitazone for a month enjoyed a significant decrease in MAPK enzyme activity accompanied by a decrease in the inflammatory processes in the brain. According to the authors, this finding represents the first unequivocal evidence of a functional link between high blood sugar and the activation of this specific inflammatory pathway in the brain.

Using the diabetic rat model, they explored a novel approach that would lower the activation of these enzymes in the brain, and decrease neuronal cell death. In the last few years, Prof. Atlas
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Contact: Dov Smith
dovs@savion.huji.ac.il
972-258-82844
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Source:Eurekalert  

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