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GABA-A Receptor Structures Point to Drug Mechanisms

RESEARCH NEWS 2019-01-04 Research News What do sedatives, general anesthetics, anti-anxiety drugs, alcohol, numerous recreational drugs, and allopregnanolone, a neurosteroid being tested in Alzheimer’s trials, have in common? They all tweak the activity of GABA-A receptors. When ...

Tregs Suppress Astrogliosis and Improve Recovery After Stroke

RESEARCH NEWS 2019-01-04 Research News In the weeks following a stroke, regulatory T cells stream into the brain. What exactly do they do there? Scientists led by Akihiko Yoshimura, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, report in the January 2 Nature that these cells dampen ...

2018—A Year in Research

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-12-28 Research News Once again, it’s time to reflect on the preceding 12 months. Despite the 2025 deadline for effective therapy that has been set by the National Alzheimer’s Plan and the World Dementia Council, 2018 brought no drug approvals or Phase 3 ...

Missing Ingredient: New Mice Model Alzheimer’s Genetic Variability

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-12-28 Research News A person’s genetic background promotes Alzheimer’s or protects against it, but existing mouse models in genetically identical strains ignore this aspect of a multigenic disease in humans, an outbred population. Is this why mouse treatment ...

Could a Blood Test for Tau Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease?

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-12-24 Research News Cerebrospinal fluid tau is an established Alzheimer’s disease biomarker, but efforts to develop a blood test for tau have been hampered by exceedingly low concentrations of the protein there. At least, until now, claims a paper published in ...

Stem Cell Model Nails Link Between Tauopathy and GABAergic Dysfunction

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-12-21 Research News Many genetic variants that lead to neurodegenerative disease are rare, and so scientists cannot obtain enough brain tissue for mechanistic studies. Researchers led by Celeste Karch, Carlos Cruchaga, and Oscar Harari at Washington University ...

Local Flavor: At Protein Level, Too, Human Microglia Are Diverse

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-12-21 Research News Just last month, gene expression profiling of individual mouse microglia showcased diverse phenotypes that reflected the cells’ multifaceted roles in development and immune surveillance. Efforts to do the same with human microglia have ...

When Glial Clocks Fall Out of Sync, Inflammation Ensues

CONFERENCE COVERAGE 2018-12-21 Conference Coverage The circadian clock—the body’s molecular timekeeper—is best known for tuning our sleep, metabolism, digestion, and body temperature to the cycles of dark and light. Yet it controls other functions, as well. At the Society for ...

TDP-43: Separating Physiological Wheat from Pathological Chaff

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-12-21 Research News Up to now, toxic TDP-43 aggregates have been hard to isolate, making them difficult to characterize physically. A new technique from the lab of Magdalini Polymenidou, University of Zurich, may help. Called SarkoSpin, it separates the ...

Tau Silences, Aβ Inflames; Hitting Excitatory Synapses Hardest

CONFERENCE COVERAGE 2018-12-20 Conference Coverage Part 2 of a two-part story. Click here for Part 1. Long before neurons die in the Alzheimer’s brain, their synapses go kaput. Both Aβ and tau pathology have been blamed for this synaptic breakdown, but at the Society for Neuroscience ...

Toxic Tau: Who Are You, and Where Are You From?

CONFERENCE COVERAGE 2018-12-20 Conference Coverage Part 1 of a two-part story. Click here for Part 2. Tau comes in many forms, and calls many locations home, both inside and outside of cells. Which is the one that wreaks damage to neurons, and where exactly does it reside? Researchers ...

How Immune Cells From Blood Beget Aging in Brain

CONFERENCE COVERAGE 2018-12-14 Conference Coverage Never mind the wrinkles and gray hair. Embattled microglia, waning neurogenesis, and withering synapses are also part and parcel of the aging process. What drives those seemingly inexorable changes inside the brain? At the Society for ...

Autopsy Study Confirms Flortaucipir PET Lights Up Tau Pathology

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-12-14 Research News For a PET ligand, validation is literally a matter of life and death. Its reliability rides on a direct comparison of tracer uptake in a living person with his or her autopsy result. In the December 3 JAMA Neurology, Ruben Smith and Oskar ...

Microglia Reveal Formidable Complexity, Deep Culpability in AD

RESEARCH NEWS 2018-12-13 Research News Genetic studies of late-onset Alzheimer’s point to variations in the function of the innate immune system—and its CNS cadre, the microglia. Why would immune genes determine whether a person will get the disease? Perhaps because the innate ...

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