- Prof Claudio Stern awarded one of seven Advanced Grants from ERC
- Prof David Becker nominated for BBSRC Innovator of the Year Award
- Young Embryologist Network Meeting
- Prof Lewis Wolpert at the world's only Philosophy Festival
- CDB PhD Student wins two prestigious awards
- Prof Christopher Dean wins Excellence in Medical Education Award
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- CDB Scientists discover sense of direction is innate
- CDB Scientists discover genes 'decide who wins body’s battle with cancer'
- Cells’ grouping tactic points to new cancer treatments
- Prof Geoff Burnstock wins two prestigious awards
- The secret life of cells revealed
- Dr Greg Campbell wins UCL teaching award
- Dr Samuel Lee warns that women are risking their lives in pursuit of a child
- Head of CDB elected President of the International Society for Developmental Biology
- CDB scientist awarded prestigious Developmental Neurobiology prize
- CDB research highlighted in Emmy award-winning National Geographic film
- New funding for research into the genetic causes of Parkinson's, awarded to CDB
- Prof Steve Hunt prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for Neuroscience
- Prof Claudio Stern interviewed on the implications of US stem cell funding ban lift
- CDB students win UCL Graduate School Research Poster Competition
- Reptile fossil reignites debate over New Zealand’s submergence
- CDB scientists identify mechanism behind brain asymmetry
- CDB Students win Prizes in UCL Graduate School Competition
- Antisocial, invasive cells cause secondary tumours, say UCL scientists
- Jurassic turtles could swim
- Scientists gain insight into motor neurone disease
- Neuroscientist receives international prize for ‘pioneering work’
- Prof Claudio Stern elected FRS
- Spirals shape how we think
- Found: The frog from hell
- How insulin could reduce scarring
- CDB New Grants Success
- CDB Professor appointed Sainsbury Wellcome Centre: Interim Director
- Crucial sex hormones re-routed by missing molecule
- Prof Zeki on how a blind man 'sees' the world
- Love: it’s all the same to the brain
- Prof Semir Zeki on BBC World Service 'The Forum'
- 2011 Young Embryologist Network Meeting - all welcome
- Zebrafish lab wins two Wellcome Image Awards
- UCL voted best place for postdocs to work
- CDB wins 1st prize in UCL Graduate School Competition
- Prestigious Beddington Medal awarded to CDB graduate Carlos Carmona-Fontaine
- Fossil Specimen is the "oldest pregnant lizard we have seen" says Prof Susan Evans
- Used postal stamps collection for the Leprosy Mission
- Sainsbury Wellcome Centre granted planning permission
- Salinas lab findings on halting Alzheimer's disease in mice published in Journal of Neuroscience
- CDB grad student Andrew Beale wins 1st prize in UCL Poster Competition
- CDB welcomes new arrivals
- 4th Young Embryologist Meeting set for June 1st
- CDB PhD Students Wins First Prize in Biosciences Research Poster Competition
Salinas lab findings on halting Alzheimer's disease in mice published in Journal of Neuroscience
12 March 2012
Professor Patricia Salinas (UCL Department of Cell & Developmental Biology) and her research team have discovered that specific antibodies that block the function of a protein, called Dkk1, are able to completely suppress the toxic effect of Amyloid-ß on synapses. The findings were published last week in the Journal of Neuroscience. Read on for the full story.
Memory loss in Alzheimer's disease could be prevented by targeting a secreted protein that dismantles synapses
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. However, the mechanisms that induce synaptic loss are not understood.
Professor Patricia Salinas (UCL Department of Cell & Developmental Biology) and her research team have discovered that specific antibodies that block the function of a protein, called Dkk1, are able to completely suppress the toxic effect of Amyloid-ß on synapses. The findings are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Dkk1 is elevated in the brain biopsies of people with Alzheimer’s disease but the significance of these findings was previously unknown. Two members of the Salinas’ group, Drs Silvia Purro and Ellen Dickins, found that Amyloid-ß causes the rapid production of Dkk1, which in turn induces the dismantling of synapses (the connections between neurons) in the hippocampus, an area of the brain implicated in learning and memory. However, specific antibodies against Dkk1 could prevent synaptic loss induced by Amyloid-ß. Neurons that were exposed to the antibody remained healthy, with no synaptic disintegration.
Professor Salinas said: “Despite significant advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in Alzheimer’s disease, no effective treatment is currently available to stop the progression of this devastating disease.” She added: “This research identifies Dkk1 as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”
The research was funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK, the BBSRC and the Wellcome Trust.
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We’re delighted to have supported this study”. “Studies like this are an essential part of that process, but more work is needed if we are to take these results from the lab bench to the clinic. Dementia can only be defeated through research, and with the numbers of people affected by the condition soaring, we urgently need to invest in research now.”
Amyloid beta (cyan blue) binds to nerve cells of the hippocampus (red) and attacks synapses resulting in the loss of memories in Alzheimer’s disease. New research has led to important insights into the mechanisms that induce synapse loss. The discovery brings hope for the development of new therapies that protect synapses and therefore prevent memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease.
Credit: Silvia Purro/Patricia Salinas/UCL
Page last modified on 12 mar 12 11:17 by Edward D Whitfield