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2006 Grant - Herrup
Alzheimer's Neuropathology Seen Through the Lens of Cell Cycle Processes
Karl Herrup, Ph.D.
University Hospitals of Cleveland
2006 Zenith Fellows Award
Cells in many parts of the body reproduce themselves by cell division throughout the life of the organism. While some new cell growth occurs in the adult brain, mature nerve cells usually die when they are induced to divide. Special stains can be used to identify in autopsied brain tissue those cells that are in the process of cell division, and in a healthy adult brain there is very little such staining of nerve cells.
Studies have shown, however, that nerve cells attempting to divide are much more common in diseased regions of the brain from patients who have recently died of Alzheimer's disease. These observations suggest that the cell death seen in Alzheimer's disease may arise from unknown signals that stimulate nerve cells to divide. However, the association between cell division and Alzheimer pathology is not well understood.
Karl Herrup, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed to study this association in 20 brain regions using tissue obtained from individuals who have recently died of Alzheimer's disease. The investigators will use stains and biochemical methods to detect cellular events that occur just before or during cell division. They will then correlate these results with observations of Alzheimer patho-logy on nearby brain regions. The researchers will compare their findings with findings from individuals who died without evidence of Alzheimer's disease. This study should provide new information on early events occurring at the cellular level in Alzheimer's disease.