Researchers discover an epigenetic lesion in the hippocampus of Alzheimer's

January 21, 2014
In pink is the location and structure of the brain hippocampus, the region where the epigenetic lesion was found in Alzheimer's patients. Credit: IDIBELL

Alzheimer's disease can reach epidemic range in the coming decades, by the increasing average age of society. There are two key issues for Alzheimer's disease: there is currently no effective treatment and it has been described very few associated genetic changes (mutations) which reduces the number of targets for future therapies.

Alzheimer's disease

Pathologically, Alzheimer 's disease is characterized by the accumulation of protein deposits in the brain of . These deposits are formed by plates of a protein called amyloid-beta and rolled tangles of . The root cause of these lesions in most cases is unknown, but specific alterations in regulating genes expression might be involved.

Today , the prestigious international journal in neurology Hippocampus publishes an article led by Manel Esteller, Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Biology , Institute of Biomedical Research of Bellvitge (IDIBEL ) , ICREA researcher and Professor of Genetics at the University of Barcelona,with the collaboration of the Institute of Neuropathology IDIBELL led by Isidre Ferrer, demonstrating for the first time the existence of an epigenetic lesion in the hippocampus of the brain of patients with Alzheimer.

Switches in the hippocampus

" We first started studying 30,000 molecular switches that turn on and off genes in the hippocampal region in the brains of Alzheimer patients in different stages of disease and compared with that of healthy patients of the same age. We note that dusp22 gene switch off (methylated) as the disease advances" explained Manel Esteller, director of the study.

"But more importantly" continues "was the discovery that this gene regulates tau protein. Perhaps therefore the accumulation of tau protein produced in the brain of patients with Alzheimer results from dusp22 epigenetic inactivation " .

According Esteller " the finding is relevant not only to determine the causes of the disease, but also to test potential treatments in the future to act on these epigenetic molecular switches " .

Explore further: Fluorescent compounds allow clinicians to visualize Alzheimer's disease as it progresses

More information: Sanchez-Mut JV, Aso E, Heyn H, Matsuda T, Bock C, Ferrer I, Esteller M. Promoter hypermethylation of the phosphatase DUSP22 mediates PKA-dependent TAU phosphorylation and CREB activation in Alzheimer's disease. Hippocampus, DOI: 10.1002/hipo.22245, 2014.

Related Stories

Fluorescent compounds allow clinicians to visualize Alzheimer's disease as it progresses

September 18, 2013
What if doctors could visualize all of the processes that take place in the brain during the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease? Such a window would provide a powerful aid for diagnosing the condition, monitoring ...

Mechanism in Alzheimer's-related memory loss identified

January 19, 2014
Cleveland Clinic researchers have identified a protein in the brain that plays a critical role in the memory loss seen in Alzheimer's patients, according to a study to be published in the journal Nature Neuroscience and posted ...

New Alzheimer's research suggests possible cause: The interaction of proteins in the brain

June 19, 2013
For years, Alzheimer's researchers have focused on two proteins that accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer's and may contribute to the disease: plaques made up of the protein amyloid-beta, and tangles of another ...

Alzheimer's: Newly identified protein pathology impairs RNA splicing

September 10, 2013
Move over, plaques and tangles.

Unlikely gene variants work together to raise Alzheimer's risk

October 23, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Studying spinal fluid from people at risk for Alzheimer's disease, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a gene variation that had not been considered risky ...

Why tumors become resistant to chemotherapy?

December 2, 2013
A common observation in oncology is the phenomenon that a patient with a tumor receives a drug and responds very well, but after a few months the cancer comes back and is now resistant to previously administered chemotherapy. ...

Recommended for you

Artificial intelligence predicts dementia before onset of symptoms

August 22, 2017
Imagine if doctors could determine, many years in advance, who is likely to develop dementia. Such prognostic capabilities would give patients and their families time to plan and manage treatment and care. Thanks to artificial ...

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

August 22, 2017
Hokkaido University researchers revealed that fatal gut failure in a multiple sclerosis (MS) mouse model under chronic stress is caused by a newly discovered nerve pathway. The findings could provide a new therapeutic strategy ...

Noninvasive eye scan could detect key signs of Alzheimer's years before patients show symptoms

August 17, 2017
Cedars-Sinai neuroscience investigators have found that Alzheimer's disease affects the retina—the back of the eye—similarly to the way it affects the brain. The study also revealed that an investigational, noninvasive ...

Could olfactory loss point to Alzheimer's disease?

August 16, 2017
By the time you start losing your memory, it's almost too late. That's because the damage to your brain associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) may already have been going on for as long as twenty years. Which is why there ...

New Machine Learning program shows promise for early Alzheimer's diagnosis

August 15, 2017
A new machine learning program developed by researchers at Case Western Reserve University appears to outperform other methods for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease before symptoms begin to interfere with every day living, initial ...

Brain scan study adds to evidence that lower brain serotonin levels are linked to dementia

August 14, 2017
In a study looking at brain scans of people with mild loss of thought and memory ability, Johns Hopkins researchers report evidence of lower levels of the serotonin transporter—a natural brain chemical that regulates mood, ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JVK
not rated yet Jan 21, 2014
This is the first time I've seen a neurodegenerative disease accurately attributed to epigenetic effects instead of to mutations. Loss of olfactory acuity and specificity is one of the predictors of Alzheimer's.

This article appears to links nutrient stress and social stress from my model to a neurodegenerative disease via conserved molecular mechanisms that link the same stressors to many other diseases and disorders. Most of these diseases and disorders are typically associated with mutations when they probably should be examined in the light of how the epigenetic landscape becomes the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man.

Evolutionary theorists are largely responsible for misrepresentations of biologically-based cause and effect, which they attribute to mutation-driven evolution, because they typically do not understand anything about epigenetics or the biophysical constraints on mutations.
JVK
not rated yet Jan 21, 2014
Pheromones and the luteinizing hormone for inducing proliferation of neural stem cells and neurogenesis

http://www.freshp...8009.php

A potentially non-invasive treatment for Alzheimer's

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.