Research Theme 2
REACTIVATION OF NEURONS IN ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Reduced metabolic activity in the brains in Alzheimer patients occurs before pathological alterations appear and leads to shrinkage of neurons.
Microarray analysis shows that before any clinical sign of Alzheimer’s disease occurs (Braak stages 0-II), the prefrontal cortex activates a large number of genes. We are now studying genes in these clusters to identify targets that underly this activation.
Using brain tissue cultures from deceased patients we have shown that factors released by neural stem cells can improve the viability of human neurons that have experienced aging and Alzheimer disease processes (B). Neurons that were not treated with stem cells (A) or were exposed to fibroblasts (C) were not reactivated. Arrows indicate viable neurons.