Researchers spearheaded by Osaka University have found a gene which they believe causes Alzheimer’s disease in mice. A gene governing the accumulation of amyloid-beta connected with Alzheimer’s was discovered in mice, and researchers said that the same gene could be found in humans.
The discovery makes it easier to find and develop a cure for the disease. Even diagnosing it would be easy and as simple as analyzing blood samples. The discovery was found by Takashi Morihara, lecturer at Osaka University, and his colleagues when they crossbred three strains of mice with varying degrees of propensity to develop the disease. They then checked the amount of amyloid-beta each accumulated in their brains. The researchers found out that the mice carrying genes unique to one strain accumulated smaller amounts of amyloid-beta.
The group analyzed 25,000 genes and chose one that is called kinesin light chain-1, or klc1. Further studies confirmed that molecule produced by the gene, klc1 variant E, affects the amount of amyloid-beta that the brain accumulates. The said molecule is also present in humans. Their next experiment, carried out on cultured nerve cells, resulted in a reduced amount of amyloid-beta by 45% percent by manipulating through artificial means the amount of molecule produced. Results of the research were published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.
[via Jiji Press]