Testing Candidate Therapies Targeting Dysfunction of Support Cells in Alzheimer's Disease
Astrocytes are star-shaped brain cells that support neurons in several ways. They are increasingly a focus of research for their potential role in the development of Alzheimer's disease. For this project, Maria Virtudes Sanchez Mico, PhD, and her colleagues will assess whether disease-related amyloid-beta buildup tracks with increasing dysfunction of astrocytes.
The team will leverage fluorescent molecular biology tools to follow the trajectory of dysfunction in astrocytes in relation to how they metabolize specific molecules. Using these newly developed fluorescent biosensors, Dr. Sanchez Mico and coworkers will follow these processes in real time while also tracking amyloid-beta accumulation simultaneously in lab models. The researchers predict that astrocyte dysfunction will intensify with amyloid-beta buildup.
With these powerful, sophisticated tools, Dr. Sanchez Mico and her colleagues will then assess how two candidate treatments fare in restoring proper astrocyte function. Because the researchers will be following these processes in real time in lab models, they will have a window on how these interactions evolve from their start in the living brain. The results are expected to highlight potential early targets for treatments in Alzheimer's disease.