Proteomics analyses could present new opportunities to diagnose and treat dementias

January 9, 2018, Karolinska Institutet
A synapse is a place where signals are passed from neuron to neuron. Synaptic loss is strongly correlated with dementia severity. Credit: iStock

One of the most intriguing properties of the brain is its means to undergo synaptic plasticity which represents the basis for learning and memory, abilities that severely decline in the case of a dementia. New research, published on 9 January in the scientific journal Brain, suggests that particular proteins important in the communication between neurons could be targets for early interventions in patients with different types of dementias.

In the nervous system, a synapse is the place where signals are passed from neuron to neuron. The recently published paper focuses on synaptic dysfunction and its impact on dementia severity and cognition in the elderly with various dementia diagnoses. In addition to Alzheimer´s , the Lewy body dementias are the most common forms of neurodegenerative dementias with a very severe prognosis.

"Our findings suggest that particular pre- and postsynaptic proteins have an important predictive and discriminative molecular fingerprint in neurodegenerative diseases and represent potential targets for early disease intervention, such as synaptic regeneration," Erika Bereczki says, first author of the publication and researcher at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet.

A new and broad perspective across dementias

Synaptic loss, a prominent feature in Alzheimer's disease is strongly correlated with dementia severity. Much less is known regarding synaptic loss in Lewy body dementias.

The study is the first in-depth quantitative proteome studies on pre-frontal post-mortem brain tissues where beside the whole proteome comparison, the researchers also profiled the entire synaptic proteome of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson`s disease with dementia and with Lewy bodies patients and compared them to control cases. Taking benefit of the technological advance of proteomics analyses (a technique for large-scale studies of proteins) Erika Bereczki and her colleagues have identified key synaptic proteins underlying synaptic dysfunction which were associated with the degree of cognitive decline across dementias.

Interesting targets for early interventions

"Our results suggest shared mechanisms, with major implications for prognostic and diagnostic marker development as well as advancing future therapeutic interventions for improving the disease course. This places synaptic dysfunction and repair approaches in the spotlight of attention, especially since the therapeutic window for synaptic repair and regeneration is longer than the recent toxin-clearance approaches," Erika Bereczki says.

Explore further: Knowing the signs of Lewy body dementia may help speed diagnosis

More information: Erika Bereczki et al. Synaptic markers of cognitive decline in neurodegenerative diseases: a proteomic approach, Brain (2017). DOI: 10.1093/brain/awx352

Related Stories

Knowing the signs of Lewy body dementia may help speed diagnosis

October 6, 2017
Lewy body dementia reached the public eye in 2014 after reports that Robin Williams died with diffuse Lewy body disease.

Poorly tuned neuronal communication may underlie neurological and psychiatric disease

February 13, 2017
A number of psychiatric and neurological disorders may result from abnormal synapses, the neuron-to-neuron connection sites that enable chemical communication between brain cells. The timing, frequency, and intensity of neuronal ...

Dementia study sheds light on how damage spreads through brain

November 20, 2017
Insights into how a key chemical disrupts brain cells in a common type of dementia have been revealed by scientists.

A protein involved in Alzheimer's disease may also be implicated in cognitive abilities in children

August 2, 2017
Rare mutations in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) have previously been shown to be strongly associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Common genetic variants in this protein may also be linked to intelligence (IQ) in ...

Molecules involved in Alzheimer's have a role in weakening of connections between neurons

May 27, 2015
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting over 44 million people worldwide. Inside the brain, Alzheimer's disease is characterized by loss of neurons, and presence of abnormal tangles and plaques ...

Lack of brain shrinkage may help predict who develops dementia with Lewy bodies

November 2, 2016
Dementia with Lewy bodies is a progressive disease that causes hallucinations, decline in mental abilities, rigid muscles, slow movement and tremors. With symptoms similar to Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, a ...

Recommended for you

Brain zaps may help curb tics of Tourette syndrome

January 16, 2018
Electric zaps can help rewire the brains of Tourette syndrome patients, effectively reducing their uncontrollable vocal and motor tics, a new study shows.

Researchers identify protein involved in cocaine addiction

January 16, 2018
Mount Sinai researchers have identified a protein produced by the immune system—granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF)—that could be responsible for the development of cocaine addiction.

A 'touching sight': How babies' brains process touch builds foundations for learning

January 16, 2018
Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby's brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom's face, or the sound of her voice.

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others

January 16, 2018
Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that everyone – not just creative "geniuses" like Picasso and Steve Jobs – possesses in ...

Neuroscientists suggest a model for how we gain volitional control of what we hold in our minds

January 16, 2018
Working memory is a sort of "mental sketchpad" that allows you to accomplish everyday tasks such as calling in your hungry family's takeout order and finding the bathroom you were just told "will be the third door on the ...

Miles Davis is not Mozart: The brains of jazz and classical pianists work differently

January 16, 2018
Keith Jarret, world-famous jazz pianist, once answered in an interview when asked if he would ever be interested in doing a concert where he would play both jazz and classical music: "No, that's hilarious. [...] It's like ...

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.