Maintaining certain protein's sugar levels may hinder Alzheimer's disease: research

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VietnamNet English - 31 month(s) ago 1 readings

Slowing or preventing Alzheimer's disease may be as simple as maintaining a particular protein's sugar levels, according to a new study by researchers from Vancouver-based Simon Fraser University (SFU).

Slowing or preventing Alzheimer's disease may be as simple as maintaining a particular protein's sugar levels, according to a new study by researchers from Vancouver-based Simon Fraser University (SFU).

The study, co-authored by chemistry professor David Vocadlo and published in the recent issue of Nature Chemical Biology, suggests that the enzyme O-GlcNAcase as a potential therapeutic target that could hinder progression of Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers used an inhibitor they chemically created to block O-GlcNAcase from depleting Tau proteins, which are abundant in the brain, of essential sugar molecules.

Tau stabilizes structures in the brain called microtubules, which "are kind of like highways inside cells that allow cells to move things around," said Vocadlo, a Canada Research Chair in chemical glycobiology.

Previous research has shown that the linkage of sugar molecules to Tau and other proteins is essential, and clumps of Tau from an Alzheimer's brain have almost none of this sugar attached to them, as O-GlcNAcase is the enzyme that is robbing them.

Such clumping is an early event in the development of Alzheimer's and the number of clumps correlate with the disease's severity, according to researchers.

Vocadlo s students found that when given to mice the researchers' inhibitor, Thiamet-G, it blocks O-GlcNAcase from removing the sugars off Tau. The mice also had fewer clumps of Tau and maintained healthier brains.

"Targeting the enzyme O-GlcNAcase with inhibitors is a new potential approach to treating Alzheimer's," said Vocadlo. "This is vital, since to date there are no treatments to slow its progression."

VietNamNet/Xinhuanet

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