Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Translate
Donations
menu iconMenu
search iconSearch

Increased Brain Protein Levels Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

 

September 15, 2010  |  

Elevated levels of a growth protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients is linked to impaired neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons are generated, say researchers at the University of California, San Diego in today’s edition of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Eliezer Masliah

Eliezer Masliah, MD

Eliezer Masliah, MD, professor of neurosciences and pathology in the UC San Diego School of Medicine and colleagues report that increased levels of BMP6 – part of a family of bone morphogenetic proteins involved in cell signaling and growth – were found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and in mouse models of the disease.

BMP6 is primarily known to be involved in bone growth and the proliferation of non-neuronal glial cells in developing embryos. Its purpose in adult brains is less clear. “As a growth factor, it might initially be expressed for protective effect, a response to accumulating amyloid plaque proteins in Alzheimer’s patients,” said first author Leslie Crews, a post-doctoral researcher in Masliah’s lab.

But too much BMP6 appears to be increasingly detrimental. Researchers found that levels of BMP6 grew in step with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. “In early stages of AD, there was less protein than there was in later, more advanced stages,” said Crews.

Higher-than-normal levels of BMP6 were found in the dentate gyrus of Alzheimer’s patients and around characteristic amyloid plaques in the hippocampus. Both regions of the brain are critical to memory formation and storage.

In cell cultures, the scientists found that BMP6 reduced the proliferation of cells, a discovery that suggests the protein could be a potential therapeutic target. “The next step is to see what happens when we normalize expression of BMP6,” said Masliah. “If we can do that, it may possible to impact this part of AD’s pathogenesis.”

The protein provides an easier target than some molecules, said Crews, because it is secreted and circulates around cells in the brain. “We don’t have to figure out how to get it into the brain and into cells,” she said.

Co-authors of the study are Anthony Adame, Christina Patrick, Alexandra DeLaney, Emiley Pham and Edward Rockenstein of the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego and Lawrence Hansen of the Departments of Neurosciences and Pathology at UCSD.

# # #

Media Contact: Scott LaFee, 619-543-6163, slafee@ucsd.edu




Media Contact

Related News

5/26/2015
The Huntington's Disease Clinical Research Center (HDCRC) at UC San Diego Health System has been designated a Center of Excellence by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA). UC San Diego w ...
5/25/2015
Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center have now identified six mRNA isoforms (bits of genetic material) produced by ovarian cancer cells but not ...
5/21/2015
Using human embryonic stem cells, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute created a model that all ...
5/18/2015
A binational team from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission, Mexico Section has launched a new research project aimed at promoting pr ...
5/17/2015
For parents who send their kids to dance classes to get some exercise, a new study from researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine suggests most youth dance classes provide ...
5/8/2015
Therapies that specifically target mutations in a person’s cancer have been much-heralded in recent years, yet cancer cells often find a way around them. To address this, researchers at University of ...
5/7/2015
Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Shiley Eye Institute have identified the molecular “glue” that builds the brain connections that keep visual images clear and ...
5/7/2015
Writing in the May 7 online issue of American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System su ...


Share This Article



Follow Us