INVESTIGATIONS for the development of

Project financed in the framework of Future in Research Grants by Italian MIUR


What happens in the brain of Alzheimer's Disease patients?

Alzheimer's Brain Plaques

The communication between neurons is altered due to the formation of plaques protein. Some proteins as a result of mutations and/or conformational incorrect folds are structured into amyloid fibrils, which characterize various neurodegenerative diseases. Amiloyde ß peptide (Aß) in patients suffering from Alzheimer's is secreted and tends to aggregate into fibrils that accumulate in a cell and the other which have a toxic effect on the surrounding healthy cells.

Amyloid fibril amyloid fibril

A multidisciplinary approach

In our research project we study the effect of biological agents and pharmacological fibrillation in vitro peptide Aß with many experimental techniques: absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, X -ray scattering, diffraction and atomic force microscopy. In addition to the biophysical characterization of processes in molecular levels, we are synthesizing new molecules similar to curcumin that interact with the aggregation of Aß peptide and are not cytotoxic.

aggregation pattern

Towards new therapeutic aspects

The effect of chaperonins and, separately, of pharmacological compounds synthesized, on the aggregation of the peptide Aß will be combined and replicated in the presence of cell membranes model. The compounds synthesized have been previously tested on cell lines to verify their non-toxicity. The molecular model in vitro that will be able to inhibit the growth of toxic aggregates of Aß may be used for the potential development of new therapies to Alzheimer's disease.

alzheimer's disease beta amyloid Image courtesy of the National Institute on Aging/National Institutes of Health
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