$1.2 million funds studies of Alzheimer’s cell biology
Two newly funded grants totaling $1.2 million will support studies of Alzheimer’s disease at the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies. One grant, $960,000 over four years from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is furthering studies of environmental toxins and their role in Alzheimer’s risk. Qitao Ran, Ph.D., and his team found that exposure to pesticides can worsen cognitive decline in mice and increase deposits of amyloid-beta protein in the mouse brain. Amyloid-beta plaques often are seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients studied at autopsy. The second grant, $240,000 over three years, is from the Alzheimer’s Association. In this study Dr. Ran and his team are overexpressing an enzyme called glutaredoxin-2. “If we have more of this enzyme, we believe we can protect the cells and reduce amyloid-beta accumulation,” he said.