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Mad cow disease - alzheimers and transmission
By Dross at 2010-12-02 05:47
Mad cow disease - alzheimers and transmission

Aside from prions -- which can trigger a cascade of protein misfolding associated with "mad cow disease" and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease -- there has been no evidence that other neurodegenerative diseases associated with protein misfolding are transmissible between humans by an infectious agent.  But in a Report in the 12 Nov 2010 ScienceEisele et al. showed that mouse brain extracts containing aggregates of beta-amyloid, the peptide that induces  formation of debilitating brain plaques in Alzheimer's disease, can cause plaque-associated pathological changes in the brains of recipient mice when injected into other parts of their body.  This finding extends previous work showing that beta-amyloid extracts can induce plaque formation if injected directly into the mouse brain -- and it has implications for a pathogenic mechanism reminiscent of prion transmission.  Although the transport mechanism from peripheral tissue to the brain is unclear, an accompanying Perspective by J. Kim and D.M. Holtzman noted that the possibility of cell-to-cell passage of misfolded proteins could open the door to new treatment strategies for their associated disorders, such as antibodies or small molecules that block transmission of the protein.

 

 



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