SIRT1, a gene associated with anti-ageing has been linked to the production of an Alzheimers protein according to a study in Cell today
Researchers at MIT found that SIRT1 appears to prevent production of damaging A-beta peptides that make up amyloid plaques which form in the brain of people with Alzheimer's. They also showed that learning and memory improved when SIRT1 - protein was overproduced in the brain of mice engineered to develop Alzheimer's.
SIRT1 is a 'rescue gene' that repairs the damage done by free radicals and prevents cells from dying prematurely. The gene also causes mitochondria, the power plants of cells, to produce energy at higher levels that are typically associated with younger cells.
Alzheimer's Society comment:
'SIRT1 certainly appears to be everybody's favourite gene at the moment. Activated by calorie restriction and a compound found in red wine, research has shown that it can help animals live longer. Now scientists may have linked it to the control of a key protein associated with the development of Alzheimer's-type dementia.
'Much more research is now needed before we can find out if drugs that activate SIRT1 could be used to fight dementia. However, dementia research is desperately underfunded. Dementia receives eight times less funding than cancer research. If we are to beat dementia we must invest today to find a cure for tomorrow.'Dr Susanne Sorensen
Head of Research
Source Alzheimer's Society