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2010 Grants - Sumien
Exercise, Antioxidants and APOE Interactions in Cognitively-Impaired Mice
Nathalie Sumien, Ph.D.
University of North Texas Health Science Center
Fort Worth, Texas
2010 New Investigator Research Grant
The ApoE gene produces a protein called apolipoprotein A, which is involved in the transport of lipids (fats) into cells. A variant form of this gene, called ApoE-e4, has been shown to increase a person's risk of acquiring Alzheimer's disease.
Healthful lifestyle choices, such as exercise and a good diet, can delay the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's. They can also improve Alzheimer symptoms that have already appeared. However, not all of these individual choices provide equal benefits for different populations. Exercise, for example, can improve cognitive function, but it may also exacerbate a dementia-related condition called oxidative stress—which involves damage to brain cells by toxic oxygen molecules. Thus people who suffer from oxidative stress may not receive sufficient benefits from exercise alone. They may also need to take an antioxidant regimen for reducing oxidative stress.
In their proposed study, Nathalie Sumien, Ph.D., and colleagues will assess whether combining exercise and antioxidant intake can slow or prevent Alzheimer pathology in mice engineered to express ApoE-e4. The researchers will also compare the effects of this treatment on female mice of reproductive age and post-reproductive age. They hope to determine whether their treatment's potency may decline for women after menopause.
The results of Dr. Sumien's effort should help clarify the role of lifestyle programs in counteracting a genetic Alzheimer risk. This approach could lead to numerous lifestyle programs geared for particular individuals or population groups.