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Scientists Isolate Protein Involved in Familial Alzheimer's Disease

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By AlzheimersSupport Staff • • August 8, 2000

Scientists have identified a protein involved in the calcium regulation of brain cells, according to a new study. The findings are significant for people with early-onset, genetically-inherited Alzheimer’s and may lead to new developments in disease prevention and therapy.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports that the protein calsenilin may be able to offset calcium imbalances in the brain that affect neural functions in early-onset Alzheimer’s. This type of Alzheimer’s is characterized by a genetic mutation that produces a protein called presinilin. The newly identified calsenilin protein may be able to alleviate the effects of the mutation by stabilizing the distribution of calcium in brain cells.

“Our finding provides evidence that calsenilin could be an important mediator of mutant presenilin’s effects on calcium signalling,” commented lead researcher Dr. Malcolm Lessering of the University of California at Irvine.

Autosomal-dominant Alzheimer’s, also known as Familial Alzheimer’s Disease, is a rare form of the disease, affecting less than 10 percent of AD patients. Autosomal-dominant Alzheimer’s usually occurs in younger people before age 60.

The research team expressed hope that their study results will influence future drug developments for this type of Alzheimer’s. “This could lead to pharmaceutical therapies and preventative measures to offset these mutations and stop the advancement of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease,’ said Leissring

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