Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have identified a crucial component in the nerve cells responsible for Alzheimers disease. The researchers expect the results to help in developing potential new approaches for the treatment of the disease. The study which includes aspects from Switzerland and the UK is published in the journal Cell Reports.

Alzheimers disease is one of the most common diseases in the elderly and results in the many deaths that occur among those who suffer from the degenerative disorder. Neurotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and another form of the disease affect 1 to 2 percent of the population leading to progressive deterioration with increasing physical and mental disabilities.

Brady Bovem professor at the Department of Surgery and Neurobiology at Karolinska Institutet and colleagues believe that a major cause of these disorders are chronic brain insults such as long-term cerebral hypoxia which cause damage to neurons and impair the ability to control and carry out basic activities of our bodies.

With our study we have identified a specific type of progenitor cell in nerve cells which are responsible for promoting the regulation of neuronal connections with other cells and thereby strengthens the movement of neural impulses the scientists say.

Chemosensory pathway of NN-type nerves.

Nerve cells adult nerves that provide sensation to the body in inhale and exhale means that information in the brain has to pass through these nerves. Following in the footsteps of the Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist to this life showing a demonstration for the very first time how neurites hold together in the nerve cells the compounds administered for treatment of ALS were first isolated from cells in the VU University Hospital Carinthiansl (VSC) where the nerve cells are located.

From the structures where these NN-type nerves connect each cell needs to connect with other cells of a certain type-for example motor neurons which direct motor action. Neurotrophic lateral sclerosis affects the nerves in the spinal cord and brain but not in the brain says Elina Gerdtsen associate professor at the Department of Medicine at Karolinska Institutet who is behind the study.

In addition to Elina Gerdtsen and the brain circuit neuroscientists who initiated the study staff and principal investigator Gran Aasberg professor at the Department of Neurology at Karolinska Institutet took part. In collaboration with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) some independent scientists have funded by the Swedish Research Council (FRAK) and the Stockholm Region Economic and Social Research Fund (SSRIF) were also involved.

The treatment of neurodegenerative diseases is of critical importance because now we have studied nerve cells responsible for the regulation of neurovascularity. We hope that the identification of specific nanoparticles molecules with specific properties that appear to promote neurite growth in nerve cells will help in the development of new approaches Ville Ruck and Stockholm Region Economic and Social Research Fund research director says.

The research results are published in Cell Reports.