Friday, 22 February 2013

Modeling Alzheimer's using induced pluripotent stem cells

In a recent study, a collaborative team of scientists has successfully used induced pluripotent stem cells derived from Alzheimer's patients to model the disease. The team was comprised by researchers from the Nagasaki University, led by Nobuhisa Iwata, and researchers from the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), led by Haruhisa Inoue.

The researchers first created induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from two familial Alzheimer's patients, presenting with mutations in amyloid precursor protein (APP), and two sporadic Alzheimer's patients. The iPSCs were then induced to differentiate into cortical neurons (neurons that make up the brain's cortex.) and astrocytes (neuroglial cells of the central nervous system).

Image of an astrocyte
Rodent Astrocyte

According to the study, the neural cells from one of the familial patients and one of the sporadic patients revealed that endoplasmic reticulum stress and oxidative-stress phenotypes are related to intracellular Aβ oligomers. Additionally, the researchers discovered that these stress phenotypes were reduced by docosahexaenoic acid treatment. The study's findings may explain the variable clinical results given by docosahexaenoic acid treatment and indicate that it may only be effective for certain people with Alzheimer's. Finally, the study illustrates that patient-specific iPSCs can be employed for analysing AD pathogenesis and evaluating new experimental drugs.

Haruhisa Inoue, the corresponding author, said that patient classification using induced pluripotent stem cells has the potential to contribute to a preemptive therapeutic approach toward Alzheimer's Disease, adding that there is still a lot of research needed before applying iPSCs technology to the masses for analysing the disease in a large scale.

Alzheimer's disease  is the most common form of dementia (serious loss of global cognitive ability in a previously healthy person). In most cases, Alzheimer's is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age, however the less-prevalent early-onset Alzheimer's can occur much earlier. It is estimated that there are more than 26 million sufferers worldwide and it believed that the disease will affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050.

Video about the disease

Kondo, T., Asai, M., Tsukita, K., Kutoku, Y., Ohsawa, Y., Sunada, Y., Imamura, K., Egawa, N., Yahata, N., Okita, K., Takahashi, K., Asaka, I., Aoi, T., Watanabe, A., Watanabe, K., Kadoya, C., Nakano, R., Watanabe, D., Maruyama, K., Hori, O., Hibino, S., Choshi, T., Nakahata, T., Hioki, H., Kaneko, T., Naitoh, M., Yoshikawa, K., Yamawaki, S., Suzuki, S., Hata, R., Ueno, S., Seki, T., Kobayashi, K., Toda, T., Murakami, K., Irie, K., Klein, W., Mori, H., Asada, T., Takahashi, R., Iwata, N., Yamanaka, S., & Inoue, H. (2013). Modeling Alzheimer’s Disease with iPSCs Reveals Stress Phenotypes Associated with Intracellular Aβ and Differential Drug Responsiveness Cell Stem Cell DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2013.01.009

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