Oxygen production/expenditure may be key to Alzheimer’s treatment

January 3, 2022
Oxygen production/expenditure may be key to Alzheimer’s treatment

The mutated genes found in Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to the differing ways cells produce energy for brain function in a study by researchers at the University of Adelaide (Adelaide University), South Australia. The research group had used cutting-edge gene technology and mathematical analysis to compare gene activity and detect subtle differences between normal, young adult zebrafish and those with gene mutations associated with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Adult brains are made up of many different types of cells that have complicated ways of producing and sharing energy – different mutations in different genes can have many different effects on brain cell function. Alzheimer’s disease mutations then, most notably, affected the use of oxygen within cells to produce energy.

“We know when Alzheimer’s disease eventually develops, people’s brains become severely deficient in energy production,” said Dr. Karissa Barthelson from Adelaide University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Laboratory. Dr. Barthelson and colleagues noticed a similar effect in data from another research group that had studied an important Alzheimer’s disease gene in mice.

“It is very satisfying to have found this important common, early factor driving the development of Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Bathelson explained.

“Energy production is the most fundamentally important cellular activity supporting all other functions, particularly in highly active organs such as brains. If we can understand in detail what is going wrong with oxygen use and energy production, we may see ways of stopping the disease before it starts — and that would enormously benefit our ageing population.”

[The researchers say the costs of Alzheimer’s disease to society are huge, not only in caring for those who cannot care for themselves but also in lost relationships with loved ones as memories and cognition fade.]

Read: Certain personality traits linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

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Category: Education, Features

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