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Study examines role of collagen in Alzheimer's disease

Thursday 11 December 2008

Researchers who had found that levels of collagen VI were significantly higher in the brains of modified mice and subsequently also higher in the brain tissue from people with Alzheimers disease, discovered that the cellular source of the collagen VI in the brain was neurons, which are the cells which the disease attacks. They sought to establish whether this collagen contributed to neuronal damage in Alzheimers disease or was produced as a defense mechanism against it and so carried out a series of informative cell culture experiments which revealed when amyloid-beta protein was added to neurons grown in culture the expression of collagen VI was increased. In addition, the researchers found that by increasing the amount of collagen VI in the cultures that the neurons were protected against the amyloid-beta protein toxicity.


The team was led by Lennart Mucke, MD and colleagues from the Gladstone Institute of Neurological disease, UCSF and Stanford. The research is reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience.


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