Potential biomarkers for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease

January 31, 2014, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Researchers identify abnormal expression of genes, resulting from DNA relaxation, that can be detected in the brain and blood of Alzheimer's patients.

In a study published this week in Nature Neuroscience, Bess Frost, PhD, and co-authors, identify abnormal expression of genes, resulting from DNA relaxation, that can be detected in the brain and blood of Alzheimer's patients.

The protein tau is involved in a number of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease. Previous studies have implicated DNA damage as a cause of neuron, or cell, death in Alzheimer's patients. Given that DNA damage can change the structure of DNA within cells, the researchers examined changes in DNA structure in tau-induced neurodegeneration. They used transgenic flies and mice expressing human tau to show that DNA is more relaxed in tauopathy. They then identified that the relaxation of tightly wound DNA and resulting expression are central events that cause neurons to die in Alzheimer's disease.

The authors write, "Our work suggests that drugs that modify DNA structure may be beneficial for treating Alzheimer's Disease." The authors recommend, "A greater understanding of the pathway of DNA relaxation in tauopathies will allow us to identify the optimal target and explore the therapeutic potential of epigenetic-based drugs."

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

Related Stories

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

January 21, 2014
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 ...

Deciphering the DNA of Alzheimer's patients

December 4, 2013
(HealthDay)—Data that details every gene in the DNA of 410 people with Alzheimer's disease can now be studied by researchers, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced this week.

Genetic mutation causes lupus in mice

January 3, 2014
Yale researchers have identified a genetic mutation that leads to lupus in mice. The discovery could open the way for development of therapies that target the mutation. The study appears in Cell Reports.

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 ...

Changes in epigenetic DNA functions reveal how diabetes predisposes individuals to Alzheimer's

October 23, 2013
Diabetes and dementia are rising dramatically in the United States and worldwide. In the last few years, epidemiological data has accrued showing that older people with diabetes are significantly more likely to develop cognitive ...

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 ...

Recommended for you

Hypothesis underpinning dementia research 'flawed'

October 16, 2018
A hypothesis which has been the standard way of explaining how the body develops Alzheimer's Disease for almost 30 years is flawed, according to a University of Manchester biologist.

Study suggests biological basis for depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances in older adults

October 15, 2018
UC San Francisco researchers, in collaboration with the unique Brazilian Biobank for Aging Studies (BBAS) at the University of São Paulo, have shown that the earliest stages of the brain degeneration associated with Alzheimer's ...

Many cases of dementia may arise from non-inherited DNA 'spelling mistakes'

October 15, 2018
Only a small proportion of cases of dementia are thought to be inherited—the cause of the vast majority is unknown. Now, in a study published today in the journal Nature Communications, a team of scientists led by researchers ...

Scientists create new map of brain region linked to Alzheimer's disease

October 8, 2018
Curing some of the most vexing diseases first requires navigating the world's most complex structure—the human brain. So, USC scientists have created the most detailed atlas yet of the brain's memory bank.

Previously unknown genetic aberrations found to be associated with Alzheimer's progression

October 8, 2018
In a large-scale analysis of RNA from postmortem human brain tissue, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Columbia University have identified specific RNA splicing events associated with Alzheimer's ...

Periodontal disease bacteria may kick-start Alzheimer's

October 4, 2018
Long-term exposure to periodontal disease bacteria causes inflammation and degeneration of brain neurons in mice that is similar to the effects of Alzheimer's disease in humans, according to a new study from researchers at ...

0 comments

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.