Gene mutation increases dementia
The dementia associated with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases is commonly associated with abnormal clumps of a protein (B-synuclein) in the brain.
But it has not been clear whether these aggregates were a cause of the disease or merely a by-product.
Now work with a GM mouse with mutated B-synuclein gene mutation shows that the protein clumps cause the brain damage that leads to dementia.
These findings establish B-synuclein's links to Parkinson's disease and related disorders, making it a new target for potential therapies.
Beta-synuclein is closely related to alpha-synuclein, a protein that can cause Parkinson's disease when it is mutated or over-expressed.