Designer compounds inhibit prion infection
Microscopic image of brain cells infected by prions. Prions are misfolded proteins that cause lethal neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals.
(Medical Xpress) -- A team of University of Alberta researchers has identified a new class of compounds that inhibit the spread of malfunctioning proteins in the brain that cause lethal neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals.
U of A chemistry researcher Frederick West says this protein, located in the brain, folds into a specific shape that is required for it to function properly.
But when the folding mysteriously goes awry the result is a prion, derived from the words protein and infection. Researchers dont know how or why proteins become badly folded, but prions are believed to be toxic to the brain.
West and his team have developed compounds that clear prions from infected cells derived from the brain.
When these designer molecules were put into infected cells in our lab experiments, the numbers of misfolded proteins diminishedand in some cases we couldnt detect any remaining misfolded prions, said West.
West and his collaborators at the U of As Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases say this research is not yet a cure, but does open a doorway for developing treatments.
Were not ready to inject these compounds in prion-infected cattle, said David Westaway, director of the prion centre. These initial compounds werent created for that end-run scenario.
West notes that the most promising experimental compounds at this stage are simply too big to be used therapeutically in humans or animals.
Theres a molecular size limit for getting a drug into the bloodstream through the stomach, said West. Then theres the complex chemistry required for developing drug molecules that can cross the blood- brain barrier into the central nervous system.
Human exposure to prion-triggered brain disorder is limited to rare cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob or mad cow disease. The researchers say the human form of mad cow disease shows up in one in a million people in industrialized nations, but investigating the disease is nonetheless well worth the time and expense.
There is a strong likelihood that prion diseases operate in a similar way to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers, which are distressingly common around the world, said West.
The research was funded by a $200,000 grant from the Alberta Prion Research Institute, part of Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions.
The lead author on the research was Charles Mays of the Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases. Other U of A researchers came from the departments of chemistry, neurology and biochemistry. The research was published in the journal Biomaterials.
Provided by University of Alberta
- New prion protein may offer insight into mad cow disease Aug 16, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- New prion protein may offer insight into mad cow disease Aug 22, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers find protein deposits linked to Alzheimer's disease behave like prions Jun 20, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Prions show their good side May 07, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Cellular stress can induce yeast to promote prion formation Jul 23, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
4 hours ago Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
(Medical Xpress)—According to the World Health Organization, approximately 70 million couples experience infertility worldwide. Current data suggests that nearly one third of infertility disorders are due ...
Medical research 36 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Every day, their baby stopped breathing, his collapsed bronchus blocking the crucial flow of air to his lungs. April and Bryan Gionfriddo watched helplessly, just praying that somehow the dire predictions ...
Medical research 15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
The human gut is loaded with commensal bacteria – "good" microbes that, among other functions, help the body digest food. The gastrointestinal tract contains literally trillions of such cells, and yet the ...
Medical research 19 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Swiss scientists reveal the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria—and dramatically slow it down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young.
Medical research 19 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (10) | 1 |
On May 22, JoVE will publish details of a technique to measure the health of human genetic material in relation to a patient's age. The method is demonstrated by the laboratory of Dr. Gil Atzmon at New York's Albert Einste ...
Medical research 23 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
For the first time, physicists from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), biologists and physicians demonstrated the synergistic effect of cold atmospheric plasma - a partly ionized ...
16 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at Emory Vaccine Center have shown that an immune regulatory molecule called IL-21 is needed for long-lasting antibody responses in mice against viral infections.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |
As health services strive to improve quality and reduce costs, researchers study the benefits – and the pitfalls – of 'pay for performance' in hospitals.
26 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
More than half of patients diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) are now surviving the disease thanks to improved diagnosis and treatment, according to a new report1 from Cancer Research UK.
56 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—There is no significant risk directly associated with air travel during pregnancy, even at advanced gestation, says report by the University of Liverpool.
46 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
To coincide with the broadcast of Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines (SBS ONE, Sunday 26 May at 8.30pm) the first ever national survey on Australian attitudes to vaccination reveals surprising statistics including half of Australians ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0