Nav: Home

Mutation discovered to protect against Alzheimer's disease in mice

May 16, 2018

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science have discovered a mutation that can protect against Alzheimer's disease in mice. Published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the study found that a specific mutation can reduce the characteristic accumulation of the amyloid-beta peptide that occurs.

Most of us are aware of the mental and behavioral changes that occur in people with Alzheimer's disease. Perhaps less well-known outside the scientific world are the physical changes that happen in the brain. One of the hallmarks of the disease is the accumulation of plaques between neurons. These plaques are made from amyloid-beta, which is the leftover part of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) before it has been cut up. Building off of previous research, the team led by Takaomi Saido created mice with a mutated App gene, hoping that it could reduce the formation of amyloid-beta plaques.

Previous research had led the team to believe that an App gene with a specific deletion might reduce amyloid-beta build up. They used CRISPR technology to replace the normal gene with the mutated version, and indeed observed less amyloid-beta accumulation in the mouse model of the disease.

This knock-in process is a little messier than it sounds, and as expected, sample mice varied in how much of the desired deletion was actually deleted. This was useful because the team was able to see that most drastic reductions in amyloid-beta plaques were the mice with the most compete deletions. Further analysis showed that expression levels of the APP protein correlated with those of amyloid-beta, which was also expected.

This process for finding beneficial mutations is powerful. Random screening of human populations is not easy if the frequency of the mutation is low, and of course it only works with naturally occurring mutations. Additionally, the study shows the usefulness of gene-editing targeted screening in a disease that affects millions of people worldwide, but despite decades of research, still has no effective treatment.
-end-
Reference:

Nagata et al. (2018) Generation of App knock-in mice reveals deletion mutations protective against Alzheimer's disease-like pathology. Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04238-0.

RIKEN

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:

The Brain: The Story of You
by David Eagleman (Author)

Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramon y Cajal
by Larry W. Swanson (Author), Eric Newman (Author), Alfonso Araque (Author), Janet M. Dubinsky (Author)

Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life
by David Perlmutter (Author), Kristin Loberg (Contributor)

Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health
by Dr. Caroline Leaf (Author)

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
by Norman Doidge (Author)

Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain
by Mark F. Bear (Author), Barry W. Connors (Author), Michael A. Paradiso (Author)

The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity
by Norman Doidge (Author)

Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp
by Michael S. Sweeney (Author), Richard Restak (Foreword)

The Human Brain Book: An Illustrated Guide to its Structure, Function, and Disorders
by Rita Carter (Author)

Brain Rules (Updated and Expanded): 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
by John Medina (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Hacking The Law
We have a vision of justice as blind, impartial, and fair — but in reality, the law often fails those who need it most. This hour, TED speakers explore radical ways to change the legal system. Guests include lawyer and social justice advocate Robin Steinberg, animal rights lawyer Steven Wise, political activist Brett Hennig, and lawyer and social entrepreneur Vivek Maru.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#495 Earth Science in Space
Some worlds are made of sand. Some are made of water. Some are even made of salt. In science fiction and fantasy, planet can be made of whatever you want. But what does that mean for how the planets themselves work? When in doubt, throw an asteroid at it. This is a live show recorded at the 2018 Dragon Con in Atlanta Georgia. Featuring Travor Valle, Mika McKinnon, David Moscato, Scott Harris, and moderated by our own Bethany Brookshire. Note: The sound isn't as good as we'd hoped but we love the guests and the conversation and we wanted to...