A Novel Approach to Neurodegeneration

There is still no effective treatment for neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease: however Neuro-Bio research is suggesting a potential explanation for the neurodegenerative process, that accounts for previously unexplained facts, such as the characteristic cell selectivity and frequent co-pathology with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Evidence is accumulating that the basic mechanism driving the continuing cell loss in AD could be an inappropriate recapitulation of a developmental mechanism: the primarily vulnerable cells (basal forebrain-midbrain-brainstem) comprise a special subset of neurons with a distinct embryological provenance, the basal rather than the alar plate. Unlike other neurons, these cells have retained their developmental potential into adulthood. Since calcium is the final trigger for cell development and since age can be a determining factor on whether calcium entry is trophic or toxic, it is possible that in maturity any initial insult within the vulnerable cells will selectively cause mobilisation of a developmental potential that now will prove toxic, and lead to yet further, continuing cell damage. The primary signalling molecule in this process is a novel peptide: this compound has now been characterised, and the scenario of inappropriate development validated, ie the peptide is changed in Alzheimer brains, CSF and blood. As such we will be able to progress from an initial theory towards envisaging an eventual treatment package of presymptomatic blood biomarker coupled with an effective therapeutic that blocks the actions of the peptide.