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Transplantation of new brain cells reverses memory loss in Alzheimer's disease model
Date:7/15/2014

tion. However, in the apoE4 model of Alzheimer's diseasea genetic risk factor that is carried by approximately 25% of the population and is involved in 60-75% of all Alzheimer's casesthis balance gets disrupted due to a decline in inhibitory regulator cells that are essential in maintaining normal brain activity. The hippocampus, an important memory center in the brain, is particularly affected by this loss of inhibitory neurons, resulting in an increase in network activation that is thought to contribute to the learning and memory deficits characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. The accumulation of amyloid beta in the brain has also been linked to this imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory activity in the brain.

In the current study, the researchers hoped that by grafting inhibitory neuron progenitors into the hippocampus of aged apoE4 mice, they would be able to combat these effects, replacing the lost cells and restoring normal function to the area. Remarkably, these new inhibitory neurons survived in the hippocampus, enhancing inhibitory signaling and rescuing impairments in learning and memory.

In addition, when these inhibitory progenitor cells were transplanted into apoE4 mice with an accumulation of amyloid beta, prior deficits were alleviated. However, the new inhibitory neurons did not affect amyloid beta levels, suggesting that the cognitive enhancement did not occur as a result of amyloid clearance, and amyloid did not impair the integration of the transplant.

According to Dr. Huang, the potential implications for these findings extend beyond the current methods used. "Stem cell therapy in humans is still a long way off. However, this study tells us that if there is any way we can enhance inhibitory neuron function in the hippocampus, like through the development of small molecule compounds, it may be beneficial for Alzheimer disease patients."


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Contact: Dana Smith
dana.smith@gladstone.ucsf.edu
415-734-2532
Gladstone Institutes
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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