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2012 Grants - Pautler
The Impact of Catalase Overexpression on AD Pathology
Robia Pautler, Ph.D.
Baylor College of Medicine
2012 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
One theory about the causes of Alzheimer's disease is that certain biological chemicals cause oxidation in the brain, leading to nerve cell damage and disease. Studies using antioxidant treatments in humans have had limited success, but there is reason to suspect that these treatments did not adequately protect against oxidation in the critical parts of nerve cells.
Catalase is an enzyme found in many cells that converts oxidant chemicals into less damaging forms, such as water. Previous studies have found evidence that increasing the levels of antioxidant enzymes, like catalase, could prevent the development of nerve cell damage seen in animal models of Alzheimer's disease.
Robia Pautler, Ph.D. and colleagues have proposed to study whether increased levels of catalase in nerve cells of the brain can prevent the development of Alzheimer-like disease characteristics. Using a strain of mice that have been genetically altered to express Alzheimer-like disease, the researchers will use genetic techniques to increase the expression of catalase. They will then follow the animals as they age using several techniques to measure whether high levels of catalase can protect nerve cells from disease. These techniques include brain imaging, biochemical measurements of disease-related molecules, studies of learning and memory, and anatomical studies of brain structure. These studies will answer important questions about the role of oxidation in the development of Alzheimer's disease characteristics in the brain, and they may identify goals for the future development of treatments to slow or halt the development of disease.