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Media opportunity: A protein hormone in the aging brain could act as a sentinel for Alzheimer's and understanding it could slow the progression of the disease: Dalhousie University research
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and can affect a person's ability to carry out daily functions, cause serious memory loss and lead to behavioural changes and other potentially fatal nerve cell disruptions.
The disease, which afflicts tens of millions of people around the world, is associated with the accumulation of an abnormal amyloid protein (Aβ42) in the central nervous system. Yet, little work has been done to understand how Aβ42 actually alters the expression of information from genes in Alzheimer's disease, especially of genes involved in cell growth and survival.
Researchers at Dalhousie University examined differences in the relationship between Aβ42 levels and expression of information from the insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) gene and found that Aβ42 can enter cells, bind directly to DNA and reduce levels of the growth hormone, IGF2. This could be a possible mechanism for how Aβ42 affects brain function in Alzheimer’s disease.
In a new paper, they describe how understanding the role of IGF2 during brain aging and in Alzheimer's could provide a new way of monitoring Aβ42 accumulation and hopefully slow the progression of the disease.
Dr. Ian Weaver, an associate professor in Dal's Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, co-authored the study and is available to discuss how the findings provide new insight into neurodegenerative mechanisms and our understanding of complex genetic disorders.
Senior Research Reporter
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