Researchers Create Next-generation Alzheimer’s Disease Model
New rat model will advance Alzheimer’s research
Los Angeles, CA - A new genetically engineered lab rat that has the full array of brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease supports the idea that increases in a molecule called beta-amyloid in the brain causes the disease, according to a study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
“We believe the rats will be an excellent, stringent pre-clinical model for testing experimental Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics,” said Terrence Town, Ph.D., the study’s senior author and a professor in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics in the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles.
Pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s brains include abnormal levels of beta-amyloid protein that form amyloid plaques; tau proteins that clump together inside neurons and form neurofibrillary tangles; and neuron loss. Additionally, glial cells — which normally support, protect, or nourish nerve cells — are overactivated in Alzheimer’s.
Plaque-forming beta-amyloid molecules are derived from a larger protein called amyloid precursor protein (APP). One hypothesis states that increases in beta-amyloid initiate brain degeneration. Genetic studies on familial forms of Alzheimer’s support the hypothesis by linking the disease to mutations in APP, and to presenilin 1, a protein thought to be involved in the production beta-amyloid. Continue>
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