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2012 Grants - Zilberter
Energy Substrates as a Tool for Treatment of Hyperexcitability in Alzheimer's Disease
Yuri Zilberter, Ph.D.
Institut de Neuroscience des Systèmes (UMR1106), INSERM
2012 Neuronal Hyperexcitability in Seizures and Alzheimer's Disease Research Grant
Evidence from animal models suggests that energy deficiency in the brain can cause nerve cells to be abnormally active (hyperexcitability) and begin the process of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease. Yuri Zilberter, Ph.D., and colleagues have found evidence that energy deficiency—and the resulting hyperexcitability—can be induced by exposing mouse nerve cells to beta-amyloid, a protein fragment that has been implicated as a cause of Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, hyperexcitability can be prevented by providing the cells with nutrients that the cells can use for energy.
Dr. Zilberter and colleagues have proposed a series of studies to understand how nutrients are able to reduce hyperexcitability caused by beta-amyloid. They plan to study whether this effect involves only nerve cells, or whether other supporting cells in the brain are also required. They also plan to characterize the mechanisms by which nutrients prevent hyperexcitability, and whether this effect occurs in young mice or only older mice that already have amyloid plaques. Finally, the researchers will examine whether prevention of hyperexcitability prevents cognitive decline, and whether certain nutrients are optimal. These studies will provide valuable information about a potential therapeutic strategy to slow or prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease.