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

New study highlights Alzheimer's herpes link, experts say

July 12, 2018
A new commentary by scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Edinburgh on a study by Taiwanese epidemiologists supports the viability of a potential way to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Practice imperfect—repeated cognitive testing can obscure early signs of dementia

July 12, 2018
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative condition that often begins with mild cognitive impairment or MCI, making early and repeated assessments of cognitive change crucial to diagnosis and treatment.

The 'Big Bang' of Alzheimer's: Scientists ID genesis of disease, focus efforts on shape-shifting tau

July 10, 2018
Scientists have discovered a "Big Bang" of Alzheimer's disease – the precise point at which a healthy protein becomes toxic but has not yet formed deadly tangles in the brain.

'Skinny fat' in older adults may predict dementia, Alzheimer's risk

July 5, 2018
A new study has found that "skinny fat—the combination of low muscle mass and strength in the context of high fat mass—may be an important predictor of cognitive performance in older adults. While sarcopenia, the loss ...

Pathway of Alzheimer's degeneration discovered

July 5, 2018
Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) of McGill University have used a unique approach to track brain degeneration in Alzheimer's disease, uncovering a pathway through which degeneration ...

Brain study paves way for therapy for common cause of dementia

July 4, 2018
Scientists have uncovered a potential approach to treat one of the commonest causes of dementia and stroke in older people.

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.