Neuroscience is an ever-expanding life science field. There is so much still unknown about the brain and diseases that affect it, and scientists are constantly performing research and publishing new findings. Diseases such as Alzheimer's, which affects memory and causes behavioral problems, are continually being investigated with the ultimate goal of finding a cure and creating new treatment methods. Recently, a team of researchers found a connection between the memory loss associated with Alzheimer's Disease and certain inflammatory cells in the brain.
This research team from the UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, led by Dr. Kim Green, focused on studying microglia (inflammatory cells produced in reaction to beta-amyloid plaques). Microglia are the central nervous system's main form of defense in healthy tissue. However, in unhealthy tissue (found in those with Alzheimer's Disease), the microglia lose their protective fuction, leading to inflammation. The researchers found that beta-amyloid plaques in the areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's Disease contained an abundance of these microglia.
“Our work is telling us that these cells may contribute to the disease process, and targeting them with such specific drugs is a promising new approach,” Dr. Green explained.
For their research, the team used a small-molecule inhibitor compound known as pexidartinib (PLX3397) in mice suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. This inhibitor selectively blocks signals essential for the survival of microglia from surface receptors. By using this inhibitor in Alzheimer's-affected mouse models, the team saw a decrease in the number of inflammatory cells present and an increase in cognitive function in the diseased mice.
Dr. Green explained, “Our findings demonstrate the critical role that inflammation plays in Alzheimer’s-related memory and cognitive losses. While we were successful in removing the elevated microglia resulting from beta-amyloid, further research is required to better understand the link among beta-amyloid, inflammation and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s.”
Results from this study appear in the journal Brain and can be found here.
With more than $107.8 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the 2015 fiscal year, the University of California, Irvine is a leading life science research marketplace. This funding has helped construct new research buildings, establish new life science centers, and support ongoing research projects.
Departments at the university receiving substantial amounts of this funding include:
- Internal Medicine/Medicine - $10.6 million
- Anatomy/Cell Biology - $10.3 million
- Neurology - $8.9 million
- Pediatrics - $8.5 million
- Biochemistry - $7.4 million
Laboratory suppliers interested in marketing their products to more than 150 researchers in the UC Irvine marketplace are invited to participate in the upcoming 16th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event in Irvine on October 18th, 2016.
Lab suppliers at this event will be able to:
- Discuss tools and technologies with purchasing agents and end users to help them identify the products most beneficial to their research.
- Discover new quality leads in one place in only a few hours.
- Increase brand exposure in the Irvine academic marketplace.
To learn more about participating in the $107 million UC Irvine marketplace on 10/18/16, visit the link below: