Alzheimer’s missing link found

Yale School of Medicine researchers have discovered a protein that is the missing link in the complicated chain of events that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers also found that blocking the protein with an existing drug can restore memory in mice with brain damage that mimics the disease.

Scientists have already provided a partial molecular map of how Alzheimer’s disease destroys brain cells. This paper reveals the missing link in the chain, a protein within the cell membrane called metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 or mGluR5. When the protein is blocked by a drug similar to one being developed for Fragile X syndrome, the deficits in memory, learning, and synapse density were restored in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s.

Stephen Strittmatter, the senior author of the study, stressed that new drugs may have to be designed to precisely target the amyloid-prion disruption of mGluR5 in human cases of Alzheimer’s and said his lab is exploring new ways to achieve this.

Read more at Yale University