Immunotherapy used to reduce memory problems with Alzheimer’s disease
News Mar 25, 2015
A new study from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston has revealed that a single dose of an immunotherapy reverses memory problems in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease. The article appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Researchers have been working for decades to map out how Alzheimer’s disease wields its devastating effects. Although it’s known that two molecules – tau and amyloid beta – are considered responsible for the disease’s progression, the relationship between these two proteins and resulting memory problems has remained unclear.
Brain cells depend on tau protein to form highways for the cell to get nutrients and get rid of waste. In some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, the tau protein changes into a more toxic oligomer form. When this happens, molecular nutrients can no longer move to where they are needed and the brain cells eventually die.
Scientists from UTMB have previously shown their anti-tau oligomer immunotherapy reduced levels of tau oligomers and reversed memory deficits in an animal model of Alzheimer’s. In the current study, it came as a surprise that the immunotherapy also reduced amyloid beta oligomer levels, suggesting that the detrimental effects of amyloid beta are dependent on the presence of toxic forms of tau.
“Our findings with this immunotherapy study indicate a link between tau oligomers and amyloid beta,” said lead author and associate professor of neurology, Rakez Kayed. “Because of this relationship, removing tau oligomers with our immunotherapy may also decrease the harmful effects amyloid beta and mitigate memory deficits.”
What sets Kayed's therapy apart from other tau immunotherapy drugs is that his targets only the toxic oligomer form of tau and leaves the normal tau alone and able to carry out its typical functions.
These findings provide strong evidence of the benefits of targeting tau oligomers with immunotherapeutic approaches as an Alzheimer’s disease treatment.
Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
Diana L. Castillo-Carranza, Marcos J. Guerrero-Muñoz, Urmi Sengupta, Caterina Hernandez, Alan D.T. Barrett, Kelly Dineley, Rakez Kayed. Tau Immunotherapy Modulates Both Pathological Tau and Upstream Amyloid Pathology in an Alzheimer's Disease Mouse Model. Journal of Neuroscience, Published March 25 2015. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4989-14.2015
All in a Droplet: Atomic Resolution of ALS Protein ResolvedNews
Researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases of muscle and bone.READ MORE
Pupil Size Couples to Cortical States to Protect Deep Sleep StabilityNews
Researchers have found that mice pupil size fluctuates during sleep. They also show that pupil size is a reliable indicator of sleep states.READ MORE
A Place to Think: Persistent neuronal activity in human prefrontal cortex links perception and actionNews
Neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response to a perception.READ MORE