April 14, 2010
Gene Activation Removes Alzheimer's Protein In Mice

Turning on a blood-brain barrier protein known as P-glycoprotein lowers the level of beta amyloid of Alzheimer's mice to levels seen in normal mouse brains. Could avoidance of Alzheimer's be avoided just by turning on a gene to make a protein that transports beta amyloid protein out of the brain?

"What we've shown in our mouse models is that we can reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the brain by targeting a certain receptor in the brain known as the pregnane X receptor, or PXR," said Miller.

The researchers from NIEHS and the University of Minnesota Duluth demonstrated that when 12-week-old genetically modified mice expressing human beta-amyloid protein are treated with a steroid-like chemical that activates PXR, the amount of beta-amyloid protein in the brain is reduced. The activation of the PXR was found to increase the expression of a blood-brain barrier protein known as P-glycoprotein. This protein transports beta-amyloid out of the brain.

"Our results show several new findings. We now know that P-glycoprotein plays a pivotal role in clearing beta-amyloid from the brain. Secondly, we know P-glycoprotein levels are reduced in the blood-brain barrier, and that the Alzheimer's mice treated with the chemical to activate PXR were able to reduce their beta-amyloid levels to that of mice without Alzheimer's," said Bjorn Bauer, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Minnesota and senior author on the paper.

Alzheimer's disease sits at the top of my list of diseases I do not want to get. It amounts to slow motion brain death. All of your accumulated knowledge, wisdom, experience, learning, and relationships just gradually disappear. It amounts to the destruction of self.

Measurement of P-glycoprotein levels in the blood-brain barrier might provide a much earlier indicator that Alzheimer's is starting to develop. More time to launch a pharmacological counter-attack before you lose too many brain cells and memories.

Anika Hartz, Ph.D., lead author on the study, added that it is also likely that reduced P-glycoprotein expression at the blood-brain barrier may be an early indicator of Alzheimer's disease, even before the cognitive symptoms appear.

Aging is not dignified. Aging is not sacred or exalted. Aging is not pretty or nice. Aging is destruction. Aging of the brain is destruction of the brain.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 April 14 10:10 PM  Brain Alzheimers Disease

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