To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.
2015 Grants - Hussaini
Role of Lateral Entorhinal Cortex in Alzheimer’s Disease
Syed Abid Hussaini, Ph.D.
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, New York
2015 New Investigator Research Grant
How does Alzheimer’s disease affect the function of nerve cells in a brain region vulnerable to damage in the early stages of disease?
Specific regions of the brain are especially vulnerable to damage in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) is a brain region important for memory function that is damaged in people with Alzheimer’s leading to problems in perceiving smells and identifying objects — early symptoms of the disease. Scientists do not yet understand how damage to the entorhinal cortex affects the activity of nerve cells in that region. Another unanswered question is whether stimulating the activity of nerve cells in the entorhinal cortex during the early stages of disease can help restore brain function and preserve cognitive abilities.
Syed Abid Hussaini, Ph.D., and colleagues have used genetic techniques to develop a strain of mice that have an Alzheimer’s-like disease that starts in the entorhinal cortex, similar to the pattern of brain changes seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers have proposed a series of experiments to study how damage in the entorhinal cortex of these mice affects the activity of nerve cells in that region. They will use electrical techniques to measure nerve cell activity while the animals perform tasks involving recognition of objects and perception of smells. Dr. Hussaini’s team will then stimulate activity of cells in the entorhinal cortex to determine if such stimulation can alleviate the declines in brain function experienced by these animals.
The results of these studies will help scientists understand how changes to the entorhinal cortex in very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may affect the activity of nerve cells in that region and affect overall brain function. These findings may also increase our understanding of the basis for the earliest cognitive declines associated with Alzheimer’s disease and could lead to the future development of brain stimulation techniques aimed at slowing or halting disease progression.