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2017 Grants - Cherry
Unique Neuroimmune Signature in Alzheimer's Disease Compared to CTE
Jonathan D. Cherry, Ph.D.
2017 Alzheimer's Association Research Fellowship (AARF)
How does inflammation and tau clumping in the brain differ in Alzheimer's disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy?
A growing number of researchers are exploring how toxic proteins and brain inflammation occur in different brain disorders. Two diseases that feature both brain changes are Alzheimer's disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Recent studies suggest that inflammation may be a mechanism that promotes the spread of harmful tau protein in CTE and Alzheimer's. Yet, the inflammation process occurs differently in the two diseases — beginning in different places within the brain. Moreover, the spread of tau occurs more rapidly in CTE than it does in Alzheimer's.
For their research grant, Jonathan D. Cherry, Ph.D., and colleagues plan to clarify the role that inflammation plays in Alzheimer's disease and CTE. They will examine brain tissue from about 250 people who died of CTE and about 100 people who died of Alzheimer's. Using sophisticated analytical techniques, they will confirm where the inflammation began in each disease and how it spread throughout the brain. Such work will involve measuring and locating a range of molecules involved in the inflammation process. Lastly, the researchers will determine how inflammation affected the spread of tau and beta-amyloid, two important dementia-related proteins, in the Alzheimer's and CTE brains.
The results of Dr. Cherry's study will provide valuable information on the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's and CTE, two of the fastest growing brain diseases worldwide. Such findings could lead to the discovery of novel treatments that target these mechanisms and help find treatments for a number of neurodegenerative diseases that involve neuroinflammation.