Researchers from Drexel University reversed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in fruit flies by restoring the balance between two epigenetic enzymes that regulate gene expression, a study shows.
Early in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive impairment (such as difficulties with learning and memory) may be tied to the presence of elevated levels of the HDAC2 enzyme. HDAC2 helps control how genes linked to learning and memory are expressed. It appears that when HDAC2 overwhelms the enzyme it is paired with, which is called Tip60 HAT, it represses genes and leads to problems with neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to adapt to new stimuli or recall reactions to stimuli it already encountered.
But a research team led by Priyalakshmi Panikker, a PhD student, and Felice Elefant, PhD, an associate professor, both in Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences, performed tests in flies and found that if they added extra Tip60 HAT in the brain of flies that displayed symptoms close to Alzheimer’s disease, the balance between the enzymes could be successfully restored. When that balance came back, behaviors the team had taught the flies were able to be learned again and remembered.
“Our findings strongly support the concept of exploring the efficacy of specific Tip60 HAT activators, as well as identifying and manipulating additionally misregulated Tip60 target genes,” Elefant said.
Elefant, Panikker and their team — whose findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience — looked at how Alzheimer’s disease affected flies early in their development, during their larval stages, to catch what might happen in Alzheimer’s well before the tell-tale symptoms arise.
“Many researchers that study Alzheimer’s disease utilize human post-mortem samples, and thus, they are not looking at what is happening during the early progression of neurodegeneration, including whether we can correctwhat is happening during these early stages ,” Elefant said.
For the study, flies were taught to associate a certain odor with sucrose — table sugar, which flies eat and is a positive reinforcement. After being exposed to the scent paired with sugar, the flies learned to move towards the scent even without the sugar present.
Flies that modeled Alzheimer’s disease showed no difference in their reaction to the smell they had earlier been condition to. This showed that their ability to learn and remember this association was negatively affected.
But once Tip60 HAT was introduced in the brain to correct the identified Tip60 HAT/HDAC2 imbalance, these flies showed a reaction time comparable to the ones without the Alzheimer’s type of condition. This indicated that they recovered their ability to learn and remember after the epigenetic balance was reintroduced.
Moreover, when researchers identified a collection of genes related to brain function that had been repressed in the flies — due to elevated HDAC2 — an introduction of increased Tip60 HAT levels in the brain restored regular function in 9 of the 11 genes tested.
The results Panikker and Elefant found were encouraging. More testing is needed, but Elefant’s goal is to find new avenues for gene therapy.
“When people age, they have a loss of memory but it’s not because there are mutations in their genes,” Elefant said. “It’s the way they’re packaged. They’re distorted. And we’re seeing non-invasive ways we might be able to prevent that early on.”
Those interested in reading the full study, “Restoring Tip60 HAT/HDAC2 balance in the neurodegenerative brain relieves epigenetic transcriptional repression and reinstates cognition,” can access it here.
The Latest on: Alzheimer’s disease
via Google News
The Latest on: Alzheimer’s disease
- Reelin can reverse the main pathological processes associated with Alzheimer's, other tauopathieson January 23, 2020 at 9:59 am
Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disease known for the loss of connection between neurons and neuronal death. It is largely linked to the creation of senile plaques (formed by the ...
- Missing O’Fallon, Missouri woman with Alzheimer’s found safeon January 23, 2020 at 8:47 am
Carole Politte, 77, was last seen at around noon on Wednesday. She said she was going shopping. Politte is 5-foot-7-inches tall, weighs 150 pounds and has gray hair and hazel eyes. She suffers from ...
- Reelin reverts the main pathological processes related to Alzheimer's and other tauopathyon January 23, 2020 at 8:34 am
Reelin, an essential protein for brain plasticity Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disease known for the loss of connection between neurons and neuronal death. It is largely linked to the ...
- Dementia took the life of Monty Python’s co-creator, and I’m ashamedon January 23, 2020 at 8:25 am
Jones was diagnosed in 2015 and, he said, it was called primary progressive aphasia, a form of frontotemporal dementia that impairs the ability to speak and communicate, according to WellMore.com. In ...
- How one NC museum program is using art to unlock memories in people with dementiaon January 23, 2020 at 8:01 am
Eleven of the 26 people in the two tour groups have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia-related illness. The others are their caretakers. Reflections adds interactive sensory components to an art ...
- Drinking Coffee Might Lower Alzheimer’s Disease Riskon January 23, 2020 at 12:05 am
It's also welcome news for those worried about contracting Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most frequent cause of dementia in the world. It's estimated anywhere from 50 percent to 70 percent of people ...
- How To Make A Difference In The Fight Against Alzheimer’son January 22, 2020 at 6:26 am
By Arnaud Bernaert, Head of Shaping the Future of Health and Health Care, World Economic Forum Alzheimer’s disease is uniquely devastating. It destroys a person’s memories and cognitive capabilities, ...
- Human exposure to aluminum linked to familial Alzheimer's diseaseon January 21, 2020 at 9:40 am
A new study supports a growing body of research that links human exposure to aluminum with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Researchers found significant amounts of aluminum content in brain tissue from ...
- Conference offers training for caregivers on Alzheimer's diseaseon January 21, 2020 at 8:40 am
Conference offers training for caregivers on Alzheimer's disease The conference brings together educators, trainers and experts to discuss topics that are important to family caregivers and healthcare ...
via Bing News