New Type of Alzheimer’s Prevention May Be Possible with Enzyme that Lowers Tau

New Type of Alzheimer’s Prevention May Be Possible with Enzyme that Lowers Tau
Scientists have reported the discovery of a factor capable of lowering levels of tau in the brain. Tau is a protein high on the list of potential villains in Alzheimer’s disease. The study, “Reduction of Nuak1 Decreases Tau and Reverses Phenotypes in a Tauopathy Mouse Model,” was published in the journal NeuronThe findings may eventually lead to a new type of treatment to prevent or delay Alzheimer's. When it comes to Alzheimer’s, the vast majority of research has been focused on events that accompany symptom development, but numerous studies have made it clear that disease-causing events start much earlier. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in collaboration with colleagues at Texas Children's Hospital and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine focused on an early process — the accumulation of tau. The research team used both human cells and fruit flies to study kinase enzymes in their search for enzymes that could impact the aggregation of tau. Using fruit flies allowed the team to quickly screen for effects of the experiments in an intact nervous system. "Screening hundreds of kinases in the fruit fly animal model was critical because we could assess degeneration caused by tau in the fly's nervous system and measure neuronal dysfunction," Juan Botas, PhD, professor of molecular and human genetics and of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor and co-senior author of the study, said in a
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