Understanding and modifying nerve cell degeneration in Alzheimer's disease
Institution: University of Bristol
Grant type: Project
Duration: 3 years
Scientific title: Understanding and modifying Alzheimer's-related cholinergic degeneration.
What do we already know?
Nerve cells are kept healthy by groups of proteins in the brain. Two of these proteins are Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
Both are important in memory and understanding. In Alzheimer's disease there are dramatic changes in these proteins.Some people with familial Alzheimer's disease carry a mutated form of a gene, PSEN1.
What does this project involve?
The aim of this project is to investigate how the PSEN1 gene is linked to reduced production of proteins like NGF and BDNF, and how these changes affect the inner workings of nerve cells.
The researchers will also test whether treatment with a small molecule which mimics NGF could be used to treat Alzheimer's disease.The work will be done using nerve cells cultured in the laboratory.
How will this benefit people with dementia?
This work will help to characterise the complex molecular basis for the death of nerve cells in Alzheimer's disease.If the tests with the small molecule are successful, this could be developed as an oral treatment to slow progression of Alzheimer's.