Two Proteins Contribute to Dementia in Different Ways It’s long been known that abnormal clumping of proteins—known as tau proteins—in the brains of people with dementia is linked to changes in nerve cell activation and death. Now it appears that there are two structurally different forms of tau and that each plays a distinct and different role in ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   August 01, 2017
Two Proteins Contribute to Dementia in Different Ways
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Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   August 01, 2017
Two Proteins Contribute to Dementia in Different Ways
The ASHA Leader, August 2017, Vol. 22, 18. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.22082017.18
The ASHA Leader, August 2017, Vol. 22, 18. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.22082017.18
It’s long been known that abnormal clumping of proteins—known as tau proteins—in the brains of people with dementia is linked to changes in nerve cell activation and death. Now it appears that there are two structurally different forms of tau and that each plays a distinct and different role in the development of dementia.
The findings come from an international team of researchers, who expressed the two forms of human tau in nerve cells of fruit fly brains, and examined their effects on nerve cell survival and activation, fly movement, and memory formation.
The two proteins appear to differ in biology and pathology: One leads to poor communication between nerves associated with movement. The other leads to greater neurodegeneration and impairments in learning and memory.
Differentiating the proteins and their effects on the brain could help scientists design drugs that target each form individually and may help improve specific symptoms.
The research team, led by Megan A. Sealey of the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, included members from the UK’s Plymouth University and the Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center in Greece. The study appears in Neurobiology of Disease.
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August 2017
Volume 22, Issue 8