Alzheimer’s Disease First Steps Revealed by Mouse Brain in a Dish

Alzheimer’s Disease First Steps Revealed by Mouse Brain in a Dish
Using slices of mouse brain tissue kept alive in a lab dish, scientists have identified the earliest molecular changes leading to Alzheimer’s disease. The findings, showing how early alterations in brain amyloid-β balance causes nerve connections called synapses to die, might allow scientist to target the mechanisms and develop therapies to prevent or postpone disease. Once a patient receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, extensive brain changes involving deposits of amyloid-β protein, referred to as plaque, are already present. Identifying the first steps leading to Alzheimer’s is a crucial step towards the development of a drug capable of this task. Until now, science has been hampered by poor models of the disease, studying brains of deceased patients or mice bred to mimic human brain conditions. The new method, developed by researchers at Babraham Institute is a big advance, allowing researchers to track changes as they occur in real-time. Because the tissue in the dish retains its three-dimensional structure and function, it is likely to react similarly to a living brain when exposed to drugs or other experimental conditions. The study, “Synaptophysin depletion and intraneuronal Aβ in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures from huAPP transgenic mice,” published in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration and supported by the non-profit organization Alzheimer's Research U.K., used a brain region called the hippocampus, involved in memory and emotional processes. The research te
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