Breaking News
November 19, 2018 - Experts debate over whether gut or brain is more important in regulating appetite
November 19, 2018 - Playing on fear and fun, hospitals follow pharma in direct-to-consumer advertising
November 19, 2018 - Low-Carb Diets May Work By Boosting Calorie Burn
November 19, 2018 - Key molecule responsible for learning and memory discovered
November 19, 2018 - New blood test developed for early diagnosis of ovarian cancer
November 19, 2018 - Researchers identify molecule to fight myotubular myopathy
November 19, 2018 - Immune cells trigger OCD-like behaviour in multiple sclerosis, study finds
November 19, 2018 - Scientists equip new virus that kills carcinoma cells with protein
November 19, 2018 - Novel approach could provide painless, efficient alternative for treating eye diseases
November 19, 2018 - Protein in cell membranes of sperm plays key role in finding their way to eggs
November 19, 2018 - Parents who decline flu vaccination for their child may be exposed to limited information
November 19, 2018 - Mirati Presents Data From Ongoing Phase 2 Clinical Trial Of Mocetinostat In Combination With Durvalumab At The SITC 33rd Annual Meeting
November 19, 2018 - FDA warns of common diabetes meds’ link to dangerous genital infection
November 19, 2018 - New methods for preserving shoulder function, quality of life in breast cancer patients
November 19, 2018 - Surprising discovery about BH4 may rekindle interest in once-promising pathway
November 19, 2018 - Nabriva Therapeutics Completes Submission of New Drug Application to U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Intravenous Contepo to Treat Complicated Urinary Tract Infections
November 19, 2018 - Beating breast cancer only to die of opioid use – a sad Appalachian story
November 19, 2018 - Workplace bullying or violence linked to higher risk of cardiovascular problems
November 19, 2018 - Changes in Risk Indicators of MetS Severity Tied to T2DM Risk
November 19, 2018 - ‘Game-changing’ skin sensor could improve life for a million hydrocephalus patients
November 19, 2018 - Alcohol ads on social media sites with pro-drinking comments increase desire to drink
November 19, 2018 - Neural networks could replace marker genes in RNA sequencing
November 19, 2018 - Obese adolescents feel less food enjoyment than those with normal weight, study reveals
November 18, 2018 - Goodbye ‘Gluten-Free’? Celiac Disease Vaccine May Make It Possible
November 18, 2018 - Skin ages when the main cells in the dermis lose their identity and function
November 18, 2018 - Rainforest vine compound makes pancreatic cancer cells susceptible to nutrient starvation
November 18, 2018 - A new mechanism in the control of inflammation
November 18, 2018 - Age-related decline in abstract reasoning ability predicts depressive symptoms over time
November 18, 2018 - Scientists succeed in increasing stability, biocompatibility of light-transducing nanoparticles
November 18, 2018 - Sugar, a ‘sweet’ tool to understand brain injuries
November 18, 2018 - Pharmacist-Led Effort Cuts Inappropriate Rx in Older Adults
November 18, 2018 - Novel discovery could lead to new cancer, autoimmune disease therapy
November 18, 2018 - AHA and ADA launch new initiative to help people with type 2 diabetes reduce heart disease risk
November 18, 2018 - Balanced production of pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines at two years of age protects against malaria
November 18, 2018 - New pharmacological agent shows promise for prevention of heart rhythm disorders
November 18, 2018 - All That Social Media May Boost Loneliness, Not Banish It
November 18, 2018 - Scientists shine new light on link between obesity and cancer
November 18, 2018 - Risk factors for cardiovascular disease closely track with changes in diet patterns
November 18, 2018 - Biogen Scoops Sixth Prix Galien Award with UK Win for Life-Changing Rare Disease Medicine
November 18, 2018 - Detectable HIV-1 in treated human liver cells found to be inert
November 18, 2018 - Using light to control crucial step in embryonic development
November 18, 2018 - Unusual case of father-to-son HIV transmission reported
November 18, 2018 - FDA Approves Aemcolo (rifamycin) to Treat Travelers’ Diarrhea
November 18, 2018 - Poverty blamed on widening north-south gap in young adult deaths in England
November 18, 2018 - Progress in meningitis lags far behind other vaccine-preventable diseases, analysis shows
November 18, 2018 - Consensus Statement Issued on Management of Foot, Ankle Gout
November 18, 2018 - Fine particle air pollution is a public health emergency hiding in plain sight
November 18, 2018 - In-hospital mortality higher among patients with drug-resistant infections
November 17, 2018 - Research shines new, explanatory light on link between obesity and cancer
November 17, 2018 - FIND explores new diagnostic assays for confirmatory HCV diagnosis in community settings
November 17, 2018 - Tracking Preemies’ Head Size May Yield IQ Clues
November 17, 2018 - Scientists call for unified standards in 3-D genome and epigenetic data
November 17, 2018 - Lab Innovations 2018 has beaten all records by attracting 3,113 attendees
November 17, 2018 - New strategy to hinder emergence of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens
November 17, 2018 - Sexuality education before age 18 may reduce risk of sexual assault in college
November 17, 2018 - Reducing cellular proliferation could help deplete HIV reservoir and lead to a functional cure
November 17, 2018 - New model of FSHD could be useful to study effectiveness of experimental therapeutics
November 17, 2018 - FDA approves antibacterial drug to treat travelers’ diarrhea
November 17, 2018 - Lab Innovations 2018 confirmed as a major hit with visitors, exhibitors and speakers
November 17, 2018 - Largest parasitic worm genetic study hatches novel treatment possibilities
November 17, 2018 - UCLA biologists uncover how head injuries can lead to serious brain disorders
November 17, 2018 - Static and dynamic physical activities offer varying protection against heart disease
November 17, 2018 - Obesity significantly increases risk of Type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease
November 17, 2018 - New method to analyze cell membrane complexes could revolutionize the way we study diseases
November 17, 2018 - Researchers show how proteins interact in hypoxic conditions to facilitate mitochondrial fission
November 17, 2018 - People with rare cancers can benefit from genomic profiling, shows research
November 17, 2018 - NIH awards over $1.8 million to husband-and-wife doctors to test new breast cancer approach
November 17, 2018 - Four-in-one antibody used to fight flu shows promise in mice
November 17, 2018 - New approach allows pathogens to be starved by blocking important enzymes
November 17, 2018 - Higher body mass index could cause depression even without health problems
November 17, 2018 - Protein which plays role in sensing cell damage serves as new target to treat pulmonary hypertension
November 17, 2018 - FDA Approves Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) in Combination with Chemotherapy for Adults with Previously Untreated Systemic Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma or Other CD30-Expressing Peripheral T-Cell Lymphomas
November 17, 2018 - ID specialist input improves outcomes for outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy
November 17, 2018 - UT Southwestern scientists selected to receive 2019 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards
November 17, 2018 - New clinical algorithm to help individuals manage type 2 diabetes when fasting during Ramadan
November 17, 2018 - Researchers identify LZTR1 as evolutionarily conserved component of RAS pathway
November 17, 2018 - Heart Disease Leading Cause of Death in Low-Income Counties
November 17, 2018 - Estrogen Levels Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
November 17, 2018 - Research reveals link between immunity, diabetes
November 17, 2018 - Research shows how to achieve improved smoking cessation outcomes within California’s Medicaid population
A new approach for finding Alzheimer’s treatments

A new approach for finding Alzheimer’s treatments

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Credit: Canadian Light Source

Considering what little progress has been made finding drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Maikel Rheinstädter decided to come at the problem from a totally different angle—perhaps the solution lay not with the peptide clusters known as senile plaques typically found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, but with the surrounding brain tissue that allowed those plaques to form in the first place.

It was a novel approach that paid off for Rheinstädter and his team of researchers from McMaster University who used the Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon as part of a study of the effect various compounds have on membranes in brain tissue and the possible impact on plaque formation.

“Alzheimer’s disease has interested me for a long time,” said Rheinstädter, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Origins Institute at McMaster. “It is something almost every Canadian will be affected by in their lives.”

The problem is that peptides, which always exist in everyone’s brain, start to cluster into plaques that are toxic to surrounding tissue at some point and cause Alzheimer’s, “and we don’t understand why and what exactly makes them cluster together.” Age seems to play an important role in this process and our body and body tissues change significantly when we get older.

So Rheinstädter reimagined the clustering process, substituting leaves floating on a puddle for peptides in the brain. “Eventually the leaves end up forming little islands on top of the water but it’s not because the leaves are attracted to each other. It’s because of the properties of the water.”

He wondered if there were compounds that would affect brain tissue the way a drop of dish soap disrupts the surface tension of water. He theorized an analogous change in human brain membranes could prevent plaque formation or even break apart existing peptide clusters.

“We decided to start with molecules often speculated to have an effect on Alzheimer’s disease,” he said, adding that scientific evidence that the molecules work is currently lacking. Working with colleagues from McMaster’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rheinstädter selected three compounds to study—melatonin, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and curcumin, a yellow plant-produced chemical that gives turmeric its colour.

To test Rheinstädter’s theory that surrounding membranes are important to plaque formation, the researchers developed a synthetic membrane to use in place of human brain tissue. “Brain tissue has some negative charge that may also play a role in attracting peptides so we even included that. We have a good mimic of brain tissue.”

The compounds of interest were introduced into two systems—one synthetic membrane without peptide clusters and a second with clusters already in place—and the effect each compound had on the membranes and peptides was measured by a range of techniques, including microscopy at the CLS spectromicroscopy beamline.

Adding melatonin resulted in no change to the peptide clusters while ASA led to larger cluster formations.

However, curcumin not only reduced the size of existing clusters but also prevented clusters from forming.

Research team member Dr. Adam Hitchcock, a McMaster chemistry professor, said the CLS “is arguably among the best tools to use in this particular area” because it allows direct visualization of peptides in the synthetic membrane.

“What we’ve created with the synthetic membranes is Alzheimer’s on a chip which means we can test drugs on that chip before clinic trials,” said Rheinstädter. “We need drugs that are thoroughly tested so we can weed out those that don’t do anything before we use them on people.”

The research group has one year from the publication date of their results to patent their discovery, which they intend to do, he said. It can then be made available to drug companies to test the various components of existing or future drugs.

“It was time to take a new approach,” said Rheinstädter. “Alzheimer’s is a disease like any other. We just need to understand it better and we need a drug to treat it, but if a drug does not prove effective in our system, I would not take that pill.”


Explore further:
Groundbreaking technique helping to pave the way for advances in personalized medicine

More information:
Adree Khondker et al. Membrane-Modulating Drugs can Affect the Size of Amyloid-β25–35 Aggregates in Anionic Membranes, Scientific Reports (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-30431-8

Journal reference:
Scientific Reports

Provided by:
Canadian Light Source

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles