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Research Grants - 2010


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Research Grants 2010


To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.

2010 Grants - Povysheva

Somatostatin-Positive Interneurons as a Novel Target of Anti-Alzheimer Drugs

Nadezhda Povysheva, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2010 New Investigator Research Grant

People with Alzheimer's disease tend to suffer diminished activity in several brain regions, leading to cognitive loss and eventual death. Studies have shown that reduced brain activity may result from declines in neural components that promote such activity, including the chemical messenger glutamate and certain types of nerve cells.

Treatments for Alzheimer's disease are often designed to boost brain activity levels. One approach to this kind of treatment involves targeting neurons that naturally inhibit neural activity. In healthy brains, these neurons play a vital role by preventing other neurons from becoming overexcited. But their inhibitory actions prove counterproductive in the Alzheimer brain. Nadezhda Povysheva, Ph.D., and colleagues propose to test whether memantine and other drugs may promote cellular activity in Alzheimer's by blocking the functions of inhibitory nerve cells called somatostatin-positive inhibitory interneurons. Memantine is already used as an Alzheimer drug for its ability to regulate glutamate activity. For their proposed effort, the researchers will use an analytical technique that combines the study of genetically modified animals, autopsied brain slices and reconstructed nerve cells.

The results of Dr. Povysheva's study could shed new light on the role of inhibitory neurons in Alzheimer's disease. They could also lead to novel Alzheimer therapies, along with new therapeutic applications for memantine.