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Scientists receive funding boost to further research into disease mechanisms of Alzheimer’s
Date:7/29/2011

example, the patterns of action potential produced for any given stimulus are altered. The team also found that in the Alzheimer's model the action potential shape is changed such that is rises more slowly and is both shorter and narrower. They followed this up by showing the functional levels of an important protein (the voltage-gated sodium channel) that are crucial to producing action potentials are substantially reduced.

These findings are significant as they have identified changes to the generation and waveform of action potentials in a model of Alzheimer's disease. Given the fundamental role of action potentials in the function of all brain circuits, these changes are potentially very important contributors to the deficits in brain function exhibited by those afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.

Professor Randall, Professor in Applied Neurophysiology said: "As neurophysiologists we directly measure these electrical events in brain tissue and try to understand how they become disturbed by various pathological processes that contribute to diseases of the nervous system. Although many laboratories around the globe have considered this question, the vast majority, including colleagues in Bristol, have concentrated their efforts on understanding altered electrical signalling at synapses, the sites of contact between neurones at which cell-to-cell communication occurs. Although changes at synapses are no doubt important, our alternative approach has identified additional novel disturbances in electrical signalling in the brain which we believe are potentially as significant."


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Contact: Caroline Clancy
caroline.clancy@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-928-8086
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

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