Navigation Links
New target for Alzheimer's disease identified

SAN FRANCISCO, CA May 7, 2008 ---Alzheimers disease (AD) is an incurable disease that is increasing in prevalence and will increase even more rapidly as the Baby Boom generation enters the age of highest risk. The available AD drugs are only partially effective in some patients. New strategies are urgently needed.

In a new study, published in todays Journal of Neuroscience, researchers in the laboratory of Lennart Mucke, MD, director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease (GIND), have determined in mouse models that modulating the activity of enkephalin peptides in the brain might reduce the cognitive deficits seen in Alzheimers disease.

Enkephalins are part of the endogenous opioid system, which modulates learning and memory and other brain functions. They are produced by several different cell types in the brain, particularly in areas affected by AD. Enkephalins are derived by enzymatic cleavage from a precursor protein, preproenkephalin, and stored in vesicles. Upon stimulation, enkephalins are released with neurotransmitters, such as glutamate.

The enkephalin pathway is an intriguing candidate for us because it is involved in many functions that are affected by Alzheimers and other neurodegenerative diseases, said Dr. Mucke. We were not sure, though, whether it contributed causally to the disease or acts as a compensatory mechanism.

To better understand the activities of the enkephalins in AD, the Mucke team examined their functions in a transgenic mouse model of AD. These mice express two proteins associated with ADhuman amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) and its cleavage product, A peptidesin neurons and exhibit several characteristics of AD.

The team found increased levels of preproenkephalin mRNA and of enkephalin in brain regions important for memory that are affected in early stages of AD.

When they genetically manipulated the mice to make them more or less susceptible to neuronal damage, the scientists found that the enkephalin levels were also affected. Furthermore, as levels of the enkephalins increased, the ability of mice to complete behavioral tests declined. Compounds that blocked opioid receptors, through which enkaphalins exert their effects, reduced cognitive deficits. AD patients also showed increased levels of enkephalins in brain regions affected by the disease.

Our results indicate that the high levels of enkephalins may contribute to cognitive impairments in hAPP mice and maybe also in AD patients, said Dr. Mucke. Although these are early results, they are encouraging and may lead the way to a new AD therapy based on limiting enkephalin production or signaling.


Contact: Valerie Tucker
Gladstone Institutes

Related medicine news :

1. Symposium Targets Critical Manufacturing Topics for Emerging Growth Companies
2. New Targets Found That Stop Tumor Growth
3. Analysis of alcoholics brains suggests treatment target
4. Study raises questions about prostate cancer therapies targeting IGF-1
5. Monoclonal antibody Hb3: A marker for colon cancer progression or as a therapeutic target?
6. New Independent Research Firm Targets Firms with Little or No Analyst Following
7. New lymphoma therapies targets diverse and difficult cancer
8. Researchers identify new cell targets for preventing growth of breast and other tumors
9. Penn researchers find targeted therapy combination overcomes treatment resistance in liver cancer
10. China Medical Technologies to Announce 4QFY2007 Financial Results, Declare Annual Cash Dividend and Provide FY2008 Annual Targets on June 12, 2008
11. Mayo Clinic identifies treatment target for liver cancer recurrence and survival
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his ... David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps ... in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental ... exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at Work Awards took place ... BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 businesses to receive an ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article ... are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more ... these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is ... associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center ... suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) learned ... receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance research and ... by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in fighting pulmonary ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)...  Arkis BioSciences, a leading innovator in the ... cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced it has secured ... led by Innova Memphis, followed by Angel Capital ... Arkis, new financing will accelerate the commercialization of ... of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... report to their offering. ... failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by removing the ... the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s electrolytes such ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare expenditure on ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... "Pharmaceutical Excipients Market by Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, ... Formulation (Oral, Topical, Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast to ... The global pharmaceutical excipients market ... at a CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast period ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: