ScienceDaily — Antibodies that block the process of synapse disintegration in Alzheimer's disease have been identified, raising hopes for a treatment to combat early cognitive decline in the disease.
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by abnormal deposits in the brain of the protein Amyloid-ß, which induces the loss of connections between neurons, called synapses.
Now, scientists at UCL have discovered that specific antibodies that block the function of a related protein, called Dkk1, are able to completely suppress the toxic effect of Amyloid-ß on synapses. The findings are published March 6 in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Professor Patricia Salinas (UCL Department of Cell & Developmental Biology) who led the study, said: "These novel findings raise the possibility that targeting this secreted Dkk1 protein could offer an effective treatment to protect synapses against the toxic effect of Amyloid-ß.[...]
In this paper, scientists conducted experiments to look at the progression of synapse disintegration of the hippocampus after exposure to Amyloid-ß, using brain slices from mice. They were able to monitor how many synapses survived in the presence of a specific antibody which targets Dkk1, compared to how many synapses were viable without the antibody.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
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