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Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Early Alzheimer's, Before Memory Loss
Posted: Friday, March 2, 2012 4:43 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

From Alzheimer's Daily News:

(Source: Mayo Clinic) Mitochondria - subunits inside cells that produce energy - have long been thought to play a role in Alzheimer's disease. Now Mayo Clinic researchers, using genetic mouse models, have discovered that mitochondria in the brain are dysfunctional early in the disease.

The group looked at mitochondria in three mouse models, each using a different gene shown to cause familial, or early-onset, Alzheimer's disease. The specific mitochondria changes corresponded with the mutation type and included altered mitochondrial movement, structure, and energy dynamics. The changes happened in the brain even before the mice showed any symptoms such as memory loss. The group also found that the mitochondrial changes contributed to the later loss of mitochondrial function and the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease.

The team also applied metabolomics, which measures the chemical fingerprints of metabolic pathways in the cell - sugars, lipids, nucleotides, amino acids and fatty acids, ... It assesses what is happening in the body at a given time and at a fine level of detail, giving scientists insight into the cellular processes that underlie a disease. In this case, the metabolomic profiles showed changes in metabolites related to mitochondrial function and energy metabolism, further confirming that altered mitochondrial energetics is at the root of the disease process.

The researchers hope that the panel of metabolomic biomarkers they discovered can eventually be used for early diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of Alzheimer's progression.

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