Gene mutation increases dementia

4 November 2010

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Category: Research & medical benefits

invitro–gene–mutation–dimentia.jpgThe 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.