NEW YORK, NY (January 8, 2014) Scientists at The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute in collaboration with scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) successfully generated a stem cell model of familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD). Using this stem cell model, researchers identified fourteen genes that may be implicated in the disease and one gene in particular that shows the importance that inflammation may play in the brain of Alzheimer's patients.
In this study, published today in PLOS ONE, the team of scientists produced stem cells and neural precursor cells (NPCs), representing early neural progenitor cells that build the brain, from patients with severe early-onset AD with mutations in the Presenilin 1 (PSEN1) gene. These NPCs had elevated Abeta42/Abeta40 ratios, indicating elevation of the form of amyloid found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. These levels were greater than those in adult cells that did not have the PSEN1mutation. This elevated ratio showed that these NPCs grown in the petri dish were accurately reflecting the cells in the brains of FAD patients.
"Our ability to accurately recapitulate the disease in the petri dish is an important advance for this disease. These genes provide us with new targets to help elucidate the cause of sporadic forms of the disease as well provide targets for the discovery of new drugs," said Susan L. Solomon, Chief Executive Officer of The New York Stem Cell Foundation.
"The gene expression profile from Noggle's familial Alzheimer's stem cells points to inflammation which is especially exciting because we would not usually associate inflammation with this particular Alzheimer's gene. The greatest breakthroughs come with 'unknown unknowns', that is, things that we don't know now and that we would never discover through standard logic," said Sam Gandy, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Co
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New York Stem Cell Foundation