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2008 Grants - Kalinin
Locus Coeruleus Damage During Normal Aging and in Transgenic Models of Alzheimer's Disease
Sergey Kalinin, M.D.
University of Illinois at Chicago
2008 New Investigator Research Grant
The locus coeruleus is a distinct region in the brain that can be identified by its anatomy and functional characteristics. The locus coeruleus is known to be selectively damaged in persons with Alzheimer's disease, leading to loss of nerve cells from this region. Sergey Kalinin, Ph.D., and colleagues have found that loss of nerve cells from the locus coeruleus in animal models can worsen Alzheimer-like pathology in other parts of the brain. They are now studying the mechanisms that cause damage and loss of nerve cells in this region during the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Kalinin and colleagues are examining the locus coeruleus in normal aging mice and mice genetically engineered to express Alzheimer-like pathology. They have already observed that glial cells (supporting cells in the brain) become activated during normal aging, a phenomenon suggesting that inflammation may be occurring. The researchers plan to study this process further by examining the expression of genes and markers of nerve cell damage in aging mice. They will perform parallel studies in mice expressing Alzheimer-like pathology to observe any differences from normal aging mice.
Finally, the researchers plan to study whether drugs that reduce inflammation can reduce damage to the locus coeruleus in normal old mice and Alzheimer-like mice. These studies may improve our understanding of key events leading to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease.