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2008 Grants - Zoli
Genetic Deletion of Hippocampal Precursors in a Transgenic Model of Alzheimer's Disease
Michele Zoli, M.D.
Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia
2008 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
In recent years, scientists have discovered that some regions of the brain continue to generate new nerve cells even in adulthood. One such region, known as the hippocampus, is important for learning and memory. This region and its ability to generate new nerve cells are severely altered by Alzheimer's disease. However, the exact nature of these alterations and their contributions to the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are not well understood.
Michele Zoli, M.D., and colleagues are studying how newly generated nerve cells function in the hippocampus and how their role is altered by Alzheimer's disease. Because Alzheimer's disease causes so many changes in the brain, scientists do not understand which changes are caused by declines in the ability of the hippocampus to generate new nerve cells. Dr. Zoli and col-leagues plan to address this question by using mice that have been genetically altered in various ways.
The researchers have already characterized one mouse model system in which genetic changes have reduced its ability to generate new nerve cells in the hippocampus. They now plan to combine these genetic traits with other mice that express Alzheimer-like genetic characteristics. They will characterize how Alzheimer-like characteristics interact with processes involved in the generation of new nerve cells in the hippocampus. The researchers also plan to study how these various alterations affect the progression of Alzheimer's disease features, such as amyloid plaque and cognitive dysfunction.
These studies may improve our understanding of how Alzheimer's disease progresses and how the brain's ability to generate new nerve cells is altered. They may also lead to subsequent studies of how brain function can be preserved by improving the ability of the brain to generate new nerve cells.