Nav: Home

Pursuing Alzheimer's dsease from the periphery

January 22, 2016

PITTSBURGH -- Alzheimer's disease is a menace. A thief of memory and life. It has been proven that the disease manifests itself after abnormal deposits of proteins, which cause plaques and amyloid-beta tangles that destroy brain function, build up in the brain.

That said, the precise causes of Alzheimer's haven't been fully established. More recently, some researchers have become interested in peripheral organs, such as the liver, which produce toxic amyloid-beta peptides. It has been shown that drugs that reduce the liver's production of these peptides decrease brain amyloid-beta peptide levels in mice, although these results are controversial.

The University of Pittsburgh's Renã Robinson recently received a five-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore novel ways of efficiently and powerfully measuring the effects of amyloid-beta protein production in organs outside the central nervous system, the focus of most Alzheimer's disease research.

"We're looking to demonstrate and establish an approach that will allow us to evaluate processes such as energy metabolism and oxidative stress in tissues outside of the brain at various stages of Alzheimer's disease," says Robinson, an assistant professor of chemistry in Pitt's Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

In essence, Robinson and colleagues plan to significantly improve and amplify existing methods of measuring differences between normal and diseased protein samples, a field called quantitative proteomics.

"It is currently not possible to multiplex to the degree necessary for answering questions about the role of peripheral organs in Alzheimer's disease," Robinson says. "Examining five different organs from an Alzheimer's mouse model and controls from three age cohorts generates 30 samples that would each require separate analyses. Performing this study in more than one animal for each condition, for better statistics, requires an even greater number of experiments."

Robinson and her team have successfully demonstrated a method that can multiplex up to 20 samples in a single analysis. She thinks that number can be increased. "We propose to develop innovative quantitative proteomics methods to measure proteins in higher numbers of samples from different tissues and conditions simultaneously," she says. "These methods will help us get to information faster about the role of peripheral tissue changes and how they relate to changes in the brain using an Alzheimer's disease mouse model."

At the end of the grant period, Robinson says, she hopes to provide a tool that not only will further the understanding of how energy metabolism and oxidative stress in peripheral organs contribute to the progression of Alzheimer's disease, but also will provide therapeutic targets outside the brain for this devastating disease.
-end-


University of Pittsburgh

Related Brain Articles:

Study describes changes to structural brain networks after radiotherapy for brain tumors
Researchers compared the thickness of brain cortex in patients with brain tumors before and after radiation therapy was applied and found significant dose-dependent changes in the structural properties of cortical neural networks, at both the local and global level.
Blue Brain team discovers a multi-dimensional universe in brain networks
Using a sophisticated type of mathematics in a way that it has never been used before in neuroscience, a team from the Blue Brain Project has uncovered a universe of multi-dimensional geometrical structures and spaces within the networks of the brain.
New brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery
Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues.
Newborn baby brain scans will help scientists track brain development
Scientists have today published ground-breaking scans of newborn babies' brains which researchers from all over the world can download and use to study how the human brain develops.
New test may quickly identify mild traumatic brain injury with underlying brain damage
A new test using peripheral vision reaction time could lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment of mild traumatic brain injury, often referred to as a concussion.
This is your brain on God: Spiritual experiences activate brain reward circuits
Religious and spiritual experiences activate the brain reward circuits in much the same way as love, sex, gambling, drugs and music, report researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Brain scientists at TU Dresden examine brain networks during short-term task learning
'Practice makes perfect' is a common saying. We all have experienced that the initially effortful implementation of novel tasks is becoming rapidly easier and more fluent after only a few repetitions.
Balancing time & space in the brain: New model holds promise for predicting brain dynamics
A team of scientists has extended the balanced network model to provide deep and testable predictions linking brain circuits to brain activity.
New view of brain development: Striking differences between adult and newborn mouse brain
Spikes in neuronal activity in young mice do not spur corresponding boosts in blood flow -- a discovery that stands in stark contrast to the adult mouse brain.
Map of teenage brain provides evidence of link between antisocial behavior and brain development
The brains of teenagers with serious antisocial behavior problems differ significantly in structure to those of their peers, providing the clearest evidence to date that their behavior stems from changes in brain development in early life, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge and the University of Southampton, in collaboration with the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy.

Related Brain Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...