From the Journals: Discovery of Alzheimer's Molecular Pathway Reveals New Drug Targets The detection of the molecular pathway that drives the changes seen in the brains of Alzheimer's patients has revealed new targets for drug discovery that could be exploited to combat the disease. The study, published in the Nov. 2012 issue of Molecular Psychiatry, gives the most detailed understanding yet of ... From the Journals
From the Journals  |   March 01, 2013
From the Journals: Discovery of Alzheimer's Molecular Pathway Reveals New Drug Targets
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Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / From the Journals
From the Journals   |   March 01, 2013
From the Journals: Discovery of Alzheimer's Molecular Pathway Reveals New Drug Targets
The ASHA Leader, March 2013, Vol. 18, 33. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ7.18032013.33
The ASHA Leader, March 2013, Vol. 18, 33. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ7.18032013.33
The detection of the molecular pathway that drives the changes seen in the brains of Alzheimer's patients has revealed new targets for drug discovery that could be exploited to combat the disease. The study, published in the Nov. 2012 issue of Molecular Psychiatry, gives the most detailed understanding yet of the complex processes leading to Alzheimer's.
The exact mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease remain somewhat of a mystery. Recent genome-wide association studies have identified the gene for a molecule called clusterin as a susceptibility factor for late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Because clusterin levels are also known to be elevated in the blood of patients with early-stage Alzheimer's, researchers wanted to explore its role in the progression of disease.
The team, led by researchers at King's College London Institute of Psychiatry, found amyloid—a molecule that builds up between brain cells—in mouse brain cells grown in the laboratory, and noted that its presence alters the amount of clusterin in these cells. Clusterin switches on a signaling pathway that drives changes associated with the formation of tangles inside the cells, another hallmark of the disease. When this signaling pathway was switched on in mice, the researchers observed an increase in tangle formation and evidence of cognitive defects. They also detected the signature of clusterin activation in the brains of people with Alzheimer's but not in the brains of people with other forms of dementia.
The signaling pathway turned on by clusterin involves interactions among a number of different molecules that could prove to be useful targets for the development of new drugs targeted at the progression—rather than the symptoms—of Alzheimer's.
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March 2013
Volume 18, Issue 3