Slowing Down Alzheimer's Disease

Mouse study finds 2 proteins may keep brain plaques from forming

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THURSDAY, Jan. 22, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Two proteins appear to work together in mice to prevent the formation of the brain plaques that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report in the Jan. 22 issue of Neuron that the proteins clusterin and apolipoprotein E (apoE) seem to orchestrate the removal of potentially hazardous molecules from the brain.

Ironically, previous research implicated these same proteins in a key stage of brain plaque formation.

"This is one of the first demonstrations in living animals that these proteins affect amyloid clearance," Dr. David H. Holtzman, head of the neurology department, says in a prepared statement.

"Our findings suggest it is worthwhile to explore the use of drugs or therapies to alter or perhaps increase the expression of these proteins as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease," Holtzman says.

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SOURCE: Washington University School of Medicine, news release, Jan. 21, 2004

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