• Enzyme Suppression Technique shows Potential for Alzheimer’s Treatment
    pic credit: University of Nottingham

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Enzyme Suppression Technique shows Potential for Alzheimer’s Treatment

Mar 23 2021

A treatment that could potentially help to slow down the progression of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, has been discovered by scientists from the University of Nottingham. Neurodegenerative diseases which are increasing in prevalence, are associated with various abnormal neuronal functions in the brain which are related to misfolding proteins, such as amyloid beta detected in Alzheimer’s disease.

Prion diseases such as Creutzfledt Jakob disease in human or mad cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy [BSE]) cause a type of dementia that progresses unusually fast in contrast to Alzheimer's disease. Different genes and proteins are involved in both diseases but leading to a similar outcome.

One reason why neurons die in these diseases is because of the body’s aggressive internal immune response to the misfolding prion protein, which is called neuroinflammation.

In order to prevent the neurons from dying, a team led by Dr Joern Steinert from the School of Life Sciences at Nottingham used a specific treatment to inhibit this aggressive immune response by blocking an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase.

“By blocking the enzyme nitric oxide synthase in this particular disease, we saw incredible results, which gives us hope that a treatment might also be beneficial to supress certain aspects of other neurodegenerative disease,” said Dr Steinert.

The team will now test if this treatment is also effective in other forms of dementia, specifically in Alzheimer’s disease and will study the exact details of this neuroinflammation process.

The work was funded by the Medical Research Council UK.

Published in PNAS

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