New research identifies key factor in development of Alzheimer's

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have identified a link between energy production and Alzheimer's disease in zebrafish.

Published Dec 28, 2021 5:00 AM CST   |   Updated Wed, Jan 19 2022 5:00 AM CST
1 minute & 2 seconds read time

Researchers from the University of Adelaide have published a new study in Disease Models and Mechanisms examining the link between energy production in the brain and Alzheimer's disease.

New research identifies key factor in development of Alzheimer's 01 |

The research team studied the brains of young adult zebrafish, which had genetic mutations associated with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Zebrafish were the ideal candidate for the study, as they produce large families in which subtle effects can be more easily detected.

The Alzheimer's disease mutations affected brain cell function in various ways but notably impacted the cells' ability to use oxygen to produce energy. Energy production is the most fundamentally important process within a cell, a necessary prerequisite for the rest of its functions. In highly active organs like the brain, impacts on energy availability have serious consequences.

"This is very interesting because we know when Alzheimer's disease eventually develops, people's brains become severely deficient in energy production," said Dr. Karissa Barthelson from the University of Adelaide's Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Laboratory.

"When we realized this common link we took our research one step further and re-analyzed data from another research group that had studied an important Alzheimer's disease gene in mice. We could see a similar effect, and this reinforces our confidence that we have found a fundamental, early driver of Alzheimer's disease in humans," continued Barthelson.

You can read more from the study here.

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