Researchers the Vincent Coates Professor of Neurology have found the missing link in the complicated chain of events that lead to Alzheimer's disease, which is a protein. The discovery promises to lessen the burden of Alzheimer's.
According to the Stephen Strittmatter, Professor of Neurology and senior author of the study, they have found that blocking the protein with an existing drug can restore memory in mice with brain damage that mimics the disease.
Previously, Strittmatter's lab showed that the amyloid-beta peptides, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's, couple with prion proteins on the surface of neurons. An unknown process couples these two and activates a molecular messenger within the cell called Fyn.
Carrying the research further, they found the missing link in the chain, a protein within the cell membrane called metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 or mGluR5. They found that on blocking the protein, the deficits in memory, learning, and synapse density were restored in a mouse model of Alzheimer's.
The findings have been reported in the journal Neuron.
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