News Round-Up:October 2009 4th Edition


Research In Dementia

The researchers found that gamma-secretase, an enzyme implicated in Alzheimer’s Disease pathology binds to a class of  transmembrane proteins known as tetraspanins  (Wakabayashi et al, 2009) as well as to a number of other proteins. The tetraspanins have a number of different functions within the cell and it will be interesting to see how gamma secretase relates to these functions. There is further coverage here.

News In Brief

Experimental evidence has shown that expression of IL-6 in murine brain can lead to removal of amyloid plaque by microglial cells. There has been significant evidence to suggest a role for inflammation in the disease process and these new findings show that the relationship between inflammation and build up of Amyloid Plaques in the brain is complex. In one study there was found to be an association between plasma levels of ABeta42 and risk of conversion from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer’s Disease and it will be useful to see further replication of these findings. Levels of a class of transcription factors NFAT’s (Nuclear Factors of Associated T-Cells) was significantly elevated in the hippocampi of subjects with Mild Cognitive Impairment or Alzheimer’s Disease compared to controls and at least one pathway has been suggested between activation by Amyloid plaques and expression of regulated genes.

A study in the BMJ showed an increase in the number of prescriptions of antidepressants from 1993 to 2004 and this was attributed to the use of long term prescriptions. There is further coverage here. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences there is a paper on the use of a new genome sequencing technology – whole exome sequencing (which focuses on genes coding for proteins rather than the entire genome sequence) in a case which resulted in a rapid diagnosis and it will be interesting to see further developments in this area.

There is also evidence that neighbouring groups of Chimpanzees approach the same problem in different ways which the researchers have interpreted as cultural differences. Such interpretations may have implications for developing models of human culture.


Over at Science Life there is coverage of the Neuroscience conference in Chicago which amongst other items reports on a talk by Erik Kandel, the genetics of anxiety and neuroscience in social media. October 19-23rd was Open Access week and over at Beta Science, Morgan Langille writes about the use of an open-access website BioTorrents for sharing data and other resources. Over at Medical News Today there is a look at an association between gamma synuclein and depression. Software Advice has an article on iPhone applications for doctors and medical students.


Wakabayashi T, Craessaerts K, Bammens L, Bentahir M, Borgions F, Herdewijn P,Staes A, Timmerman E, Vandekerckhove J, Rubinstein E, Boucheix C, Gevaert K, De Strooper B.Nat Cell Biol. 2009 Oct 18. [Epub ahead of print]. Analysis of the gamma-secretase interactome and validation of its association with tetraspanin-enriched microdomains.


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You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast).


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The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog

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