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2005 Grant - Pereira
CAP37, A Mediator of Neuronal Microglial Interactions
Anne H. Pereira, Ph.D.
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2005 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Inflammation is a normal immune-system response to disease or injury, but long-term inflammation can damage cells. Such chronic inflammation appears to contribute to Alzheimer's disease processes. Studies have shown that neurons and immune-system cells, called microglia, communicate with one another by sending and receiving molecules called inflammatory mediators. Although studies have identified and characterized many mediators released by microglia, little is known about neuron-released mediators.
Anne H. Pereira, Ph.D., and associates have recently identified a neuron-associated inflammatory mediator known as cationic antimicrobial protein-37 (CAP37). They believe that CAP37 is released by neurons in response to injurious substances such as beta-amyloid, a tiny protein fragment that may be a key toxic factor in Alzheimer's. Dr. Pereira's research team hypothesizes that the release of CAP37 from damaged neurons stimulates microglia to migrate to the damaged neurons, devour beta-amyloid, and release molecules that contribute to inflammation.
In the current study, the investigators aim to identify the factors that initiate CAP37 activity, understand how it signals a response from microglia, and characterize its contribution to chronic inflammation and subsequent cell damage. This work may lay the foundation for the development of anti-inflammatory treatments specifically targeted to Alzheimer's disease processes.