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2006 Grant - Lewis
Neuronal Death and Functional Recovery in a Conditional Model of Tauopathy
Jada Lewis, Ph.D.
2006 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Several diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, are characterized in part by neurofibrillary tangles found inside nerve cells. Because these tangles are composed of the protein tau, the diseases are collectively known as tauopathies.
Jada Lewis, Ph.D., colleagues and collaborators have used genetic techniques to develop a mouse that expresses the human tau gene and develops neuro-fibrillary tangles resembling those seen in Alzheimer's disease. In addition, these mice exhibit nerve cell death similar to that in humans with Alzheimer's, as well as impairments in memory and brain function.
Dr. Lewis and colleagues have demonstrated that it is possible for diseased mice to recover some of their brain function, even after they have developed neurofibrillary tangles and lost some nerve cells. The researchers now plan to use their mouse model to study how neurofibrillary tangles lead to the death of nerve cells. They also plan to study how brain function recovers under some situations, in the hopes of developing treatments for improving brain function in humans affected by tauopathies.