Protein Known to Ovarian Cancer Appears to Play Role in Alzheimer’s, Study Suggests

Protein Known to Ovarian Cancer Appears to Play Role in Alzheimer’s, Study Suggests
A protein involved in ovarian cancer, known as OCIAD1, contributes to the neurodegeneration seen in Alzheimer’s disease, and may be a more fitting treatment target than beta-amyloid, a protein long linked to this disease, a study suggests. Specifically, elevated levels of the OCIAD1 protein affect the workings of a small organelle known as mitochondria — the cells' energy source — and hamper nerve cell communication. The study, “OCIAD1 contributes to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease by inducing mitochondria dysfunction, neuronal vulnerability and synaptic damages,” was published in the journal EBioMedicine. Hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease include the accumulation of amyloid plaques (aggregates of the beta-amyloid protein) and neurofibrillary tangles (abnormal buildup of tau protein) in the brain together with progressive neurodegeneration. But it's not clear how beta-amyloid plaques or tau tangles are linked to neurodegeneration, and why some areas of the brain are more prone to the loss of neurons and synapses than others. (Synapses are the junction between two nerve cells that allows them to communicate.) In fact, the work of several studies suggest that brain areas with higher densities of amyloid plaque buildup do not always match those of tau accumulation or neurodegeneration during disease progression. Likewise, therapies targeting beta-a
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