Skip to main content
Accessibility|Contact|Privacy|Terms of Service

New Piece in Alzheimer's Puzzle

  • Published: 2009-02-25 : Author: Yale University
  • Synopsis: Yale researchers have filled in a missing gap on the molecular road map of Alzheimers disease.

Main Document

Yale researchers have filled in a missing gap on the molecular road map of Alzheimer's disease. In the Feb. 26 issue of the journal Nature, the Yale team reports that cellular prion proteins trigger the process by which amyloid-beta peptides block brain function in Alzheimer's patients.

Yale researchers have filled in a missing gap on the molecular road map of Alzheimer's disease.

In the Feb. 26 issue of the journal Nature, the Yale team reports that cellular prion proteins trigger the process by which amyloid-beta peptides block brain function in Alzheimer's patients.

"It has been a black box," said Stephen M. Strittmatter, senior author of the study and the Vincent Coates Professor of Neurology and director of Cellular Neuroscience, Neuro-degeneration and Repair at the Yale School of Medicine. "We have known that amyloid-beta is bad for the brain, but we have not known exactly how amyloid-beta does bad things to neurons."

After an extensive gene expression analysis, the first step in amyloid-beta damage appears to involve cellular prion proteins. These proteins are normally harmless and exist within all cells, but on rare occasions they change shape and cause notorious prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt- Jacob disease, or its well-known variant, mad cow disease.

When the Yale team searched hundreds of thousands of candidates for potential disease-mediating receptors for the specific amyloid-beta form known to play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease, the most likely candidate was cellular prion proteins. It seems that amyloid-beta peptides latch onto these cellular prion proteins and precipitate the damage in brain cells.

"They start the cascade that make neurons sick" said Strittmatter, a member of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience.

Since these cellular prion proteins act at an early stage of disease development, the receptors make a promising target for new Alzheimer's therapies, Strittmatter said.

The study does not suggest that the conversion of cellular prion proteins to an infectious agent occurs in Alzheimer's disease, Strittmatter noted. However, the Nature paper does suggest that the role of usually harmless cellular prion proteins in common neurodegenerative diseases should be studied more rigorously, he said.

Reference: Other members of the Yale team included Juha Lauren, David A. Gimbel, Haakon B. Nygaard, and John W. Gilbert. This work was supported by research grants from the Falk Medical Research Trust and the National Institutes of Health.

Similar Topics

1 : Importance of Family History for Onset of Alzheimer's Disease : McGill University.
2 : Probiotics Improve Memory in People with Alzheimers Disease : Alzheimer's Research UK.
3 : Early Signs of Alzheimer's Disease - World's Most in Depth Study : .
4 : Is Alzheimer's an Autoimmune Disease - Study Shows Support it Could Be : Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.
5 : Link Between Vitamin D and Alzheimer's Disease : Thomas C. Weiss.
From our Alzheimer's Disease section - Full List (58 Items)


Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.





1 : Teaching Baby Sign Language - Nita, Show Us More
2 : MitoQ Novel Antioxidant Makes Old Arteries Seem Young Again
3 : Telemedicine Helps Overcome Healthcare Gender Based Barriers
4 : Screen Reader Plus Keyboard Helps Blind, Low-Vision Users Browse Modern Webpages
5 : Our Digital Remains Should be Treated with Same Care and Respect as Physical Remains
6 : Tungsten: Concern Over Possible Health Risk by Human Exposure to Tungsten
7 : Student Loan Discharge Process for Disabled Veterans Made Easier
8 : Growing Bone and Cartilage Tissues for Humans from Flaxseed Like Particles


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.

© 2004 - 2018 Disabled World™