Navigation Links
Growth factor protects key brain cells in Alzheimer's models
Date:2/8/2009

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
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/6/2016)... ... 06, 2016 , ... RowdMap, Inc. co-founder, Joshua Rosenthal, PhD, ... Principal Deputy Administrator at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); Ali Khan, ... Medical Officer at Health Care Service Corporation (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Pivot ... the industry’s gold standard KLAS Performance Report, Epic Consulting 2016 - ... organizations that specialize in consulting services for electronic health record (EHR) solutions from ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today ... submit their products through an arduous federal approval process. The rules, which treat ... market since February 15, 2007. That would essentially ban 99 percent of all ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... , ... May 05, 2016 , ... TLC Laser Eye ... Diego, California. The laser eye center will now be called “Gordon Schanzlin New Vision ... staff will remain at the full-service facility to ensure that patients continue to receive ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Phycologia ... A (UV-A) for photosynthesis, researchers Juntian Xu and Kunshan Gao tested the magnitude ... pair observed that when photosynthetically active radiation (i.e. the white light in our ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... According to market research "Global Computed ... to 2022 - Industry Insights by Slice Type (High, Mid ... by P&S Market Research, the global computed tomography market ... is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.0% during ... is expected to witness the faster growth, CAGR of 5.3%, ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... , May 4, 2016 ... of the  "Global Acute Ischemic Stroke Market ... to their offering.       (Logo: ... Global Acute Ischemic Stroke Market and Competitive ... Acute Ischemic Stroke pipeline products, Acute Ischemic ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016 BioNovus Innovations ... Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation (IAMI) today announced ... drugs, diagnostics and medical devices. An ... with rights to license, develop and commercialize medical ... "This partnership represents a significant advance ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: