Discovery may delay dementia

Monday, May 14, 2012 - 12:00 in Health & Medicine

The molecule fractalkine may underpin future dementia therapies, according to the researchers. Image: GuidoVrola/iStockphoto Scientists at The University of Queenlsand's Queensland Brain Institute are one step closer to developing new therapies for treating dementia.QBI's Dr Jana Vukovic said the work was aimed at understanding the molecular mechanism that may impair learning and memory in the ageing population.“Ageing slows the production of new nerve cells, reducing the brain's ability to form new memories,” said Dr Vokovic, who performed the work in the laboratory of Professor Perry Bartlett, the Director of QBI at The University of Queensland."But our research shows for the first time that the brain cells usually responsible for mediating immunity, microglia, have an inhibitory effect on memory during ageing.“Furthermore, they have shown that a molecule produced by nerve cells, fractalkine, can reverse this process and stimulate stem cells to produce new neurons.”The discovery, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, came after...

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