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Cholesterol and Alzheimer's: A Big Step Forward
For several years now, researchers have been aware of important links between cholesterol and Alzheimer's disease. A new study by Dr. Dora Kovacs and her team at Massachusetts General Hospital, funded in part by the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, brings us one step closer to a potential drug that could interrupt the disease process.
Previous studies have shown that cholesterol can produce the toxic peptide Abeta, which in turn is critical in the early stages of Alzheimer’s pathology. In 2001, Dr Kovacs and her colleagues identified a specific enzyme in the cholesterol pathway, abbreviated as ACAT, involved in the production of Abeta. By inhibiting ACAT, they demonstrated that Abeta production can also be reduced.
In this new paper recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Kovacs identifies a mechanism of action that accounts for this relationship between ACAT and Abeta production. A process known as “palmitoylation” is involved. The team also used two known ACAT inhibitors already created to reduce cholesterol, testing which might have the most positive effect in lowering Abeta production.
“This is forward momentum in the search for an effective Alzheimer’s treatment,” said Kovacs.
This careful work points to more potential therapies for Alzheimer’s disease through the use of existing or future drugs. More research will help determine the best methods and compounds for intervention.
“These results are a big step in the right direction,” Tim Armour, president and CEO of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund says. “Dr. Kovacs and her team are giving us data we need to really understand the link between Alzheimer’s and cholesterol and how we can better treat the disease.”
About Cure Alzheimer’s Fund
The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is governed by a board of directors; administered by a small, full-time staff; and guided scientifically by a Research Consortium. Cure Alzheimer's Fund™ is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has supported 72 projects in 51 laboratories of leading Alzheimer’s researchers in the US and abroad.