Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Proteomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Study Confirms No Transmission of Alzheimer's Proteins between Humans

Published: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Bookmark and Share
No evidence to show that proteins can spread around within the brain or between animals and humans.

Mounting evidence demonstrates that the pathological proteins linked to the onset and progression of neurodegenerative disorders are capable of spreading from cell-to-cell within the brains of affected individuals and thereby “spread” disease from one interconnected brain region to another.

A new study found no evidence to support concerns that these abnormal disease proteins are “infectious” or transmitted from animals to humans or from one person to another. The study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in conjunction with experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services, appears online in JAMA Neurology.

Cell-to-cell transmission is a potentially common pathway for disease spreading and progression in diseases like Alzheimer's (AD) and Parkinson's (PD) disease as well as frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other related disorders. It appears that misfolded proteins spread from one cell to another and that the affected neurons become dysfunctional, while these toxic proteins go on to damage other regions of the brain over time.

"By interrogating an existing database with information on a cohort of well-characterized patients, we were able to determine that there is no evidence suggesting the pathology of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s can transmit between humans,"  said senior author John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and co-director of the Penn Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research. "We can now redouble efforts to find treatments, via immunotherapies or other approaches to stop the spreading of these toxic proteins between cells."

 In order to verify whether such proteins could potentially be carried from person to person, the team of researchers analyzed data from an existing cohort of patients who had received human growth hormone (hGH) from cadaveric pituitary glands via a national program, as a beneficial treatment for stunted growth, before synthetic hGH was available. Nearly 7,700 patients were treated with cadaver-derived hGH (c-hGH) in the US between 1963 and 1985. In the mid-1980s, more than 200 patients worldwide who had received c-hGH inadvertently contaminated with prion proteins from affected donor pituitary tissue went on to develop an acquired form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder caused by pathological prion proteins that also are the cause of Mad Cow disease. Since then, the cohort has been followed to track any additional cases of CJD, with extensive medical histories for patients over the 30+ years since the c-hGH therapy was stopped after the link to CJD was discovered in 1985.

In this current study, researchers looked for signs of an elevated risk of AD, PD, FTLD or ALS among this group and found that none of the c-hGH recipients developed AD, PD or FTLD. The team did identify three ALS cases of unclear significance, given that no traces of ALS disease proteins (TDP-43, FUS and Ubiquilin) were found in human pituitary glands, despite the presence of pathological AD (tau, Aβ) and PD (alpha-synuclein) proteins. This clarified that c-hGH recipients were most likely exposed to these neurodegenerative disease proteins linked to AD, PD and FTLD but this did not result in transmission of disease from person to person.

"This cohort is an invaluable resource and should continue to be followed, especially as we rapidly increase our understanding of disease progression in neurodegenerative conditions," said David Irwin, MD, lead author, and fellow in the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research and the department of Neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Study Identifies Potential Treatment Target for Cocaine Addiction
Small change in receptor subunit reduces cocaine seeking in an animal model of addiction.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Changes to DNA On-Off Switches Affect Cells' Ability to Repair Breaks
Many proteins are involved in everyday DNA repair, but if they are mutated, the repair system breaks down and cancer can occur.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Penn-Temple Team Discovers What Keeps a Cell's Energy Source Going
Most healthy cells rely on a complicated process to produce the fuel ATP, understanding it’s production is important for understanding cancers.
Friday, November 30, 2012
Scientific News
Lemon Juice and Human Norovirus
Citric acid may prevent the highly contagious norovirus from infecting humans, scientists discovered from the German Cancer Research Center.
Signature of Microbiomes Linked to Schizophrenia
Studying microbiomes in throat may help identify causes and treatments of brain disorder.
Structural Discoveries Could Aid in Better Drug Design
Scientists have uncovered the structural details of how some proteins interact to turn two different signals into a single integrated output.
Protein Found to Play a Key Role in Blocking Pathogen Survival
Calprotectin fends off microbial invaders by limiting access to iron, an important nutrient.
Study Identifies the Off Switch for Biofilm Formation
New discovery could help prevent the formation of infectious bacterial films on hospital equipment.
How DNA ‘Proofreader’ Proteins Pick and Edit Their Reading Material
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered how two important proofreader proteins know where to look for errors during DNA replication and how they work together to signal the body’s repair mechanism.
Protein Found to Control Inflammatory Response
A new Northwestern Medicine study shows that a protein called POP1 prevents severe inflammation and, potentially, diseases caused by excessive inflammatory responses.
X-ray Laser Experiment Could Help in Designing Drugs for Brain Disorders
Scientists found that when two protein structures in the brain join up, they act as an amplifier for a slight increase in calcium concentration, triggering a gunshot-like release of neurotransmitters from one neuron to another.
Team Identifies Structure of Tumor-Suppressing Protein
An international group of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University physicists Mathias Lösche and Frank Heinrich have established the structure of an important tumor suppressing protein, PTEN.
Why We’re Smarter Than Chickens
Toronto researchers have discovered that a single molecular event in our cells could hold the key to how we evolved to become the smartest animal on the planet.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!