NYU Langone Medical CenterIt is known that inheritance of an additional copy of the gene ß-amyloid precursor protein, APP, in people with Down syndrome could result in the expected growth of early beginning of Alzheimer’s disease. Also it is identified to be supposedly connected with the evidence of Amyloid ß peptide or Aß in the brain.

But a new study claims to detect ßCTF, a small protein discovered in APP, as a new reason for the growth of Alzheimer’s disease-related endosome irregularities. They have apparently been formerly attached to the loss of brain cells in Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was conducted in partnership with NYU Langone Medical Center (New York, NY), the Center for Dementia Research at the Nathan Kline Institute (Orangeburg, NY); Mailman Research Center at McLean Hospital (Belmont, MA); Departments of Psychiatry and Neuropathology at Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA).

“In the study, using the cells from individuals with Down syndrome that are genetically predisposed to developing Alzheimer’s disease, we showed that elevated levels of ßCTF, independent of Aß, cause a specific pattern of endosome defects with similar pathology of brain cells in Alzheimer’s disease. Our research was successfully able to pinpoint that ßCTF causes Alzheimer’s disease-related endosome defects and that we could successfully reverse these endosome defects by lowering ßCTF levels in the cells,” remarked Ying Jiang, PhD, lead author and clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Ralph Nixon, MD, PhD, professor, psychiatry and cell biology, director, NYU Center of Excellence on Brain Aging and the Silberstein Alzheimer’s Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center, added, “In the field of Alzheimer’s research, we have been questioning whether Aß is the only target to better understand the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and if lowering Aß is the only hoped-for therapy. This study demonstrates that an alternative protein factor, ßCTF, derived from the gene APP, is also unequivocally involved in Alzheimer’s disease and may be of additional importance for the development of future effective therapies.”

Endosomes are said to be membrane compartments in cells that apparently provide cell survival by devouring external nutrients and are vital in neuronal roles. In Alzheimer’s disease, endosome abnormalities are said to be the first neuropathologic features to grow. Endosomes are also believed to be alleged spots of Aß production in the cells.

This study was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.