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2013 Grants - Perry
PGC-1alpha as a Therapeutic Target for Alzheimer Disease
George Perry, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine
2013 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
PGC-1alpha (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, coactivator-1alpha) is a protein thought to be involved in building mitochondria, which are specialized structures inside cells that produce energy in forms the cell can use. Scientists have found evidence that mitochondria become dysfunctional in Alzheimer's disease, possibly because PGC-1alpha levels decline, leading to impaired or insufficient mitochondria, resulting in reduced energy levels.
George Perry, Ph.D., and colleagues have been studying the role of PGC-1alpha in the development of brain changes in mice genetically altered to have an Alzheimer's-like condition. They have proposed to use genetic techniques to increase levels of PGC-1alpha in these mice. The researchers will then test whether restoration of PGC-1alpha levels also restores mitochondrial function and brain function in those animals. Next, Dr. Perry and colleagues will test whether drugs that stimulate PGC1-alpha activity can restore mitochondrial and brain function. These studies represent a first step in testing a new treatment strategy to slow or prevent progression of brain changes in Alzheimer's disease.