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New findings about brain proteins suggest possible way to fight Alzheimer's
Date:10/6/2009

id, the receptor migrates into the cell, reducing the cell's sensitivity to incoming signals. By contrast, in strong concentrations of Reelin, the receptor remains active and the cell has the green light to continue receiving normally.

Dr. Herz said the study is especially important because this mechanism involves another protein involved in Alzheimer's called ApoE4, which is the primary risk factor for the most frequent late-onset form of the disease. The receptor that binds to ApeE molecules also binds to Reelin, and is part of the red-light/green-light complex that controls the sensitivity of the NMDA receptors.

"These results imply that Reelin, ApoE and beta-amyloid converge on the same molecular mechanism, which is critical in the Alzheimer's disease process, and Reelin may be a common factor to fight both beta-amyloid and mutated ApoE," Dr. Herz said. "This study establishes a rationale that ApoE receptors have an action that can keep the Alzheimer's disease process at bay by preventing damage in the first place."

The researchers are currently studying the role of ApoE4 in this mechanism. Mimicking or preserving normal Reelin function to stimulate the ApoE receptors might provide a path to stave off the disease, Dr. Herz said.


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Contact: Aline McKenzie
aline.mckenzie@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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