Navigation Links
Growth factor protects key brain cells in Alzheimer's models

Memory loss, cognitive impairment, brain cell degeneration and cell death were prevented or reversed in several animal models after treatment with a naturally occurring protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The study by a University of California, San Diego-led team published in the February 8, 2009 issue of Nature Medicine shows that BDNF treatment can potentially provide long-lasting protection by slowing, or even stopping the progression of Alzheimer's disease in animal models.

"The effects of BDNF were potent," said Mark Tuszynski, MD, PhD, professor of neurosciences at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and neurologist at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Health System. "When we administered BDNF to memory circuits in the brain, we directly stimulated their activity and prevented cell death from the underlying disease."

BDNF is normally produced throughout life in the entorhinal cortex, a portion of the brain that supports memory. Its production decreases in the presence of Alzheimer's disease. For these experiments, the researchers injected the BDNF gene or protein in a series of cell culture and animal models, including transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease; aged rats; rats with induced damage to the entorhinal cortex; aged rhesus monkeys, and monkeys with entorhinal cortex damage.

In each case, when compared with control groups not treated with BDNF, the treated animals demonstrated significant improvement in the performance of a variety of learning and memory tests. Notably, the brains of the treated animals also exhibited restored BDNF gene expression, enhanced cell size, improved cell signaling, and activation of function in neurons that would otherwise have degenerated, compared to untreated animals. These benefits extended to the degenerating hippocampus where short-term memory is processed, one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage in Alzheimer's disease.

The demonstration of the effectiveness and safety of BDNF administration in animals provides "a rationale for exploring clinical translation" to humans, the team concludes, suggesting that the protective and restorative effects of BDNF on damaged neurons and neuronal signaling may offer a new approach to treating Alzheimer's disease.

This work builds on previous studies by Tuszynski and others, demonstrating the therapeutic affects of nerve growth factor (NGF) administered to patients with Alzheimer's disease. In 2001, Tuszynski and his team at UC San Diego Medical Center performed the first surgical implants of NGF genes into the brains of Alzheimer's patients, with follow-up results showing these patients experienced a possible slowing in cognitive decline and increased metabolic function in the brain. The NGF studies continue today, with Phase 2, multi-center studies currently underway.

"NGF therapy aims to stimulate the function of specific cholinergic neurons, which are like the air traffic controllers of the brain, helping to direct the activities of cells in broad regions of the brain," Tuszynski explained. However, he added that the benefits of NGF therapy, if validated in ongoing trials, will not be curative. Eventually, the effect of the NGF "boost" will be countered by the widespread death of neurons in the cerebral cortex as a result of advancing Alzheimer's disease.

"In contrast, BDNF acts directly on dying cells in specific memory circuits of the brain," Tuszynski said. "In this series of studies, we have shown that BDNF targets the cortical cells themselves, preventing their death, stimulating their function, and improving learning and memory. Thus, BDNF treatment can potentially provide long-lasting protection by slowing, or even stopping disease progression in the cortical regions that receive treatment."

The protective and restorative effects of BDNF occurred independently of the build-up of amyloid, a protein that accumulates in the brain to form plaques in Alzheimer's disease. Many current experimental treatments for Alzheimer's disease target amyloid production, so the potential role of BDNF as an alternative protective intervention is of great potential interest, said Tuszynski. Because BDNF targets a different set of disease mechanisms than amyloid modulation, there is also potential to combine BDNF and amyloid-based treatments, theoretically providing a two-pronged attack on the disease.


Contact: Debra Kain
University of California - San Diego

Related medicine news :

1. Masimo to Present at the Roth Capital Partners 21st Annual OC Growth Stock Conference
2. CardioDynamics Reports Eighth Consecutive Quarterly Revenue Increase Over Prior Year and 12% Revenue Growth in 2008
3. Recession-Proof Your Career: High Job Growth Expected for Rehab Therapists
4. Hill-Rom Reports First Quarter Revenue Growth of 3.0 Percent to $352 Million and Earnings Per Fully Diluted Share From Continuing Operations of $0.23, an Increase of 15.0 Percent From the Prior Year
5. Align Technology Executives to Present at ROTH 21st Annual OC Growth Stock Conference
6. Cielo MedSolutions Announces Strong Revenue Growth in 2008
7. US Cancer Pain Market to Reach $5 Billion by 2018 - Cancer Patient Growth Drives Value
8. Shengtai Pharmaceutical to Present at Roth 21st Annual OC Growth Stock Conference
9. Growth hormone treatment after weight loss surgery prevents loss of muscle mass
10. New insights into growth factors role in brain development
11. Haemonetics Reports Double Digit Growth in Revenue, Operating Income, and EPS for the Third Quarter Fiscal 2009
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Finnleo, a leader in the traditional ... models of traditional and far-infrared saunas. , For traditional saunas, Finnleo is ... traditional Finnish sauna wood, and Finnleo uses only European Grade A Nordic White Spruce ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 26, 2015 , ... Ministers, senior government and UN agencies, ... Centres of Excellence, and public R&D institutions, civil societies and other partners gathered ... 5th African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, ANDI, Stakeholders Meeting. The three- ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Lakeview Health, a Jacksonville-based drug ... their sobriety and show through pictures what a positive difference it makes. The ... with the hashtag #FacesOfGratitude on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Short ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... The McHenry County law firm of ... decision obtained by Attorneys Francisco J. Botto and Alex C. Wimmer. Attorneys Botto and ... Comm’n, 2015 IL App (2d) 130884WC. , According to court documents, Adcock testified that ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... Beddit® has ... Beddit Classic sleep tracking systems. The new app features a more intuitive SleepScore™ that ... understand how well you slept. The SleepScore is created by a proprietary algorithm. Beddit ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 Allergan plc (NYSE: ... Rugen Therapeutics, a start-up  biotechnology company focused on ... disorders and funded by the F-Prime Biomedical Research ... into an exclusive collaboration to support the discovery ... Disorders (ASD) and Obsessive Compulsive disorders (OCD). ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 USP 800 applies to all ... pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, home ... also covers all entities which store, prepare, transport, ... healthcare institutions, patient treatment clinics, physicians, practice facilities, ... --> What is the purpose of ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Asia -based ... BioLight and the New Investors will make a direct ... a private placement. The financing will help IOPtima to ... used in the treatment of glaucoma, as well as ... IOPtimate™ system with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: