This open enrollment, choose a plan that includes access to our world-class providers. Get better care now

Menu
Search

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

Share This Article


Related News

10/14/2019
In Fall 2019, the Center for the Future of Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine expanded to address the newest surgical trends, especially those benefiting the brain and the nervous system.
10/14/2019
UC San Diego Health has enrolled its first patient to evaluate a hand-held technology to fragment kidney stones. The clinical trial will assess the safety and effectiveness of breaking up kidney stone ...
10/10/2019
The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at University of California San Diego School of Medicine announces $3 million in research grants to explore new applications of cannabis for a number of nove ...
10/10/2019
As UC San Diego Athletics steps up to NCAA Division I competition level, they do so with another team behind them: UC San Diego Health, now their Official Health Care Provider.



Follow Us