Navigation Links
The urban evolution lab

Researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected to the University of Antwerp are the first to show that the quantity of amyloid protein in brain cells is a major risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Amyloid protein has already been known to be the primary component of the senile plaques in the brains of patients. The new discovery demonstrates that the greater the quantity of the protein that is produced, the younger the dementia patient is.

Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is a memory disorder that affects up to 70% of all dementia patients. In Belgium, about 100,000 people suffer from this disease. The disease gradually destroys brain cells in the deep areas of the brain that are responsible for memory and knowledge. Ever since the disease was first reported by Alois Alzheimer − 100 years ago now − scientists have been searching diligently for ways to treat it.

Amyloid plaque formation plays a key role
Genetic research has previously shown a direct connection between amyloid protein and the development of senile plaques and loss of cells. Amyloid protein originates when it is cut by enzymes from a larger precursor protein. In very rare cases (fewer than 1 in 1000 patients), mutations appear in that amyloid precursor protein, causing it to change shape and be cut differently. The amyloid protein that is formed now has different characteristics, causing it to begin to stick together and precipitate as amyloid plaques. The development of amyloid plaques in the brain tissue of Alzheimer patients is a central factor in the search for a therapy for Alzheimer's disease.

A lot or not much of the amyloid precursor protein is a risk factor The fact that patients with Down syndrome get Alzheimer's disease shows that the quantity of the amyloid precursor protein contributes to the disease: in fact, patients with Down syndrome have 3 copies of the gene (or hereditary code ) for the amyloid precursor protein and therefore produce 150% instead of 100% of the protein.

So, Jessie Theuns and her colleagues, under the direction of Christine Van Broeckhoven, hypothesized that the quantity of amyloid precursor protein might also play a role in Alzheimer's disease. The geneticists from Antwerp systematically studied the hereditary code that is responsible for controlling the expression of the gene (= promoter). Biological processes in our body are strictly regulated, primarily by closely controlling the amount of each protein that is produced. The promoter of a gene has the most important control function in this process.

In younger Belgian and Dutch Alzheimer's patients (younger than 70), the researchers found genetic variations in the promoter that increased the gene expression and thus the formation of the amyloid precursor protein. These variations in the promoter that increase expression occur up to 20 times more frequently (2 per 100 patients) than the mutations in the precursor protein that change the shape. Furthermore, there is a connection with the age at which the symptoms are first detected: the higher the expression (up to 150% as in Down syndrome), the younger the patient (starting between 50 and 60 years of age). Thus, the amount of amyloid precursor protein is a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease in the ageing process.

Prospects for tests and treatments
These new findings lead to a new understanding: namely, that the quantity of the amyloid precursor protein, and thus of the amyloid protein, in brain cells contributes significantly to the risk of contracting Alzheimer's. This discovery will have to be taken into account in diagnostic tests and in the search for new medicines.


'"/>

Source:New Scientist


Related biology news :

1. Toxic flood lifts lid on common urban pollution problem
2. Sleep disturbances affect classroom performance
3. Out-of-body experiences may be caused by arousal system disturbances in brain
4. Molecular biology fills gaps in knowledge of bat evolution
5. Same mutation aided evolution in many fish species, Stanford study finds
6. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
7. Family trees of ancient bacteria reveal evolutionary moves
8. Great White shark evolution debate involves WSU Lake Campus geology professor
9. Revolutionary nanotechnology illuminates brain cells at work
10. The evolutionary triumph of flower power
11. MicroRNAs play a big part in gene regulation - and evolution
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:10/4/2017)... , Oct. 4, 2017  GCE Solutions, a global clinical ... data and document anonymization solution on October 4, 2017. Shadow is ... field to comply with policy 0070 of the European Medicines Agency ... data. ... GCE Solutions ...
(Date:6/30/2017)... , June 30, 2017 Today, ... developer and supplier of face and eye tracking ... Featured Product provider program. "Artificial ... innovative way to monitor a driver,s attentiveness levels ... from being able to detect fatigue and prevent ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... TEANECK, N.J. , May 16, 2017  Veratad ... leading provider of online age and identity verification solutions, ... the K(NO)W Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May ... Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center. ... across the globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... Parks Associates announced today that Tom Kerber , Director ... , October 11 in Scottsdale, Arizona . Kerber will ... safety and security products impact the competitive landscape. ... Parks Associates: Smart Home Devices: Main Purchase Driver ... "The residential security market has experienced continued growth, and the introduction of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... PITTSBURGH, PA (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 ... ... this year’s recipients of 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who ... be presented in a scheduled symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national ... Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been ... a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... With ... microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now expanding into Analytical Services. ... range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. Services will leverage techniques ...
Breaking Biology Technology: