TBI-Related Toxic Protein Accumulation May Cause Neurodegeneration A study in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that an accumulation of toxic proteins in the brains of people who have had a traumatic brain injury may be the reason they are more likely to develop certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Neuromedical researchers, led by the University of ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   February 01, 2015
TBI-Related Toxic Protein Accumulation May Cause Neurodegeneration
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Traumatic Brain Injury / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   February 01, 2015
TBI-Related Toxic Protein Accumulation May Cause Neurodegeneration
The ASHA Leader, February 2015, Vol. 20, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB3.20022015.16
The ASHA Leader, February 2015, Vol. 20, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB3.20022015.16
Neuromedical researchers, led by the University of Rochester’s Maiken Nedergaard, postulate that TBI—like normal aging—impairs the brain’s ability to clear waste, allowing proteins to spread throughout the brain and eventually reach toxic levels.
The protein tau—which helps stabilize the fibers, or axons, that nerve cells send out to communicate with their neighbors—plays an important role in the long-term damage sustained by the brain after a trauma. During trauma, large numbers of these proteins shake free from the axons to drift in the space between the brain’s cells. They stick to one another and, over time, form increasingly larger “tangles” that can become toxic to brain function.
Under normal circumstances, the brain’s waste removal system can clear stray tau. But researchers found that in the brains of mice with TBI, the trauma damaged this system.
“For a long time, we have viewed neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s as a supply problem, meaning that we believed the brain was producing too much tau or amyloid beta,” says Benjamin Plog, a co-author of the study. “It now appears that these conditions may ultimately be linked to a clearance problem.”
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February 2015
Volume 20, Issue 2