Scientists find leading genetic cause of Alzheimer’s disease

Credit: Unsplash+

Researchers have developed a groundbreaking method to detect lipoproteins in the central nervous system (CNS), paving the way for better understanding of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.

The study, led by protein biochemist John Melchior at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was published in the journal Science Advances.

The team discovered that lipoproteins in the nervous system are more diverse than previously believed, containing over 300 different associated proteins as opposed to the previously known 16.

These particles fall into at least 10 different families and are rich in proteins that influence wound healing, immune response, and neuron creation and maintenance.

The most common protein is apolipoprotein E (APOE), with its variant APOE4 being a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

How the Study was Conducted

Melchior’s team utilized a new fluorescent technology to tag lipoproteins in spinal fluid, requiring only one-third of a milliliter of fluid for the study.

Using mass spectrometry, they discovered 303 different proteins across various particle families, most of which had not been previously detected in the CNS.

APOE plays a significant role in the CNS, serving as a scaffold for lipids and other proteins. It also helps transport these particles throughout the nervous system to perform various functions.

The APOE4 variant of this protein makes individuals significantly more susceptible to Alzheimer’s and is suspected to play a role in other neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury.

Next Steps and Implications

This new method opens up opportunities for clinicians to study existing cerebrospinal fluid samples for a deeper understanding of neurological conditions.

Melchior’s team is eager to collaborate with other researchers to investigate these samples.

“The sooner we can start profiling lipoproteins in these conditions, the sooner we can understand more about their role in disease pathology and identify targets for treatments,” said Melchior.

The research not only provides a fresh perspective into the complexity of lipoproteins in the CNS but also offers a promising avenue for studying and possibly treating various neurological conditions.

It’s a significant advance that brings science one step closer to unraveling the mysteries of diseases like Alzheimer’s, potentially leading to effective therapies in the future.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about Common blood condition linked to reduced Alzheimer’s risk and findings of The power of strawberries: potential protection against Alzheimer’s.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about how Alzheimer’s attacks the brain, and results showing this stroke drug shows promise in treating Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The research findings can be found in Science Advances.

Follow us on Twitter for more articles about this topic.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.