Monday, June 09, 2008

Riken Makes Developments in Alzheimer's Disease Research

Tokyo, June 9, 2008 (Diginfo) - A team from the Laboratory for Proteolytic Neuroscience at RIKEN is conducting extensive research on Alzheimer's disease, specifically focusing on the study of somatostatin, a neuropeptide that inhibits the secretion of growth hormones. This research in intended to lead to the discovery of new medicine for Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a cognitive dysfunction disorder that occurs when nerve cells are impaired and and thus affects brain activity. There are around 24 million Alzheimer patients worldwide. Amyloid peptide has been identified as the pathogen that exhibits neurotoxicity and consists of 42 amino acids which are produced in the brain. The disease occurs when amyloids peptides accumulate in excess outside of the nerve cells.

The Researchers at Riken also discovered that Neprilysin, which breaks up amyloid peptide, diminishes with age and decreases even further upon the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

In the laboratory, they treated an Alzheimer's disease model mouse with a gene therapy that boosted the activity of Neprilysin by 10 times, and as a result, were able to suppress the accumulation of the amyloid peptide.

Riken is currently conducting bio-chemical and histological analysis of the brain using an Alzheimer's disease model mouse.


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