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Link Between Stroke and Alzheimer’s

PathwayAlthough scientists have known that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease is nearly doubled among people who have had a stroke, the source of the relationship has been obscure.

Now researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have found a process in the brain that may help explain the link. Their findings are published in the journal Neuron.

After a stroke, it is known that there is an increase in the production of the toxic amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides that are believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease.

In the study, results showed that Aβ production rises when there is an increase in production of a peptide called p25, which is known to occur, both in rodent models and in human post-mortem tissue, following a stroke.

Columbia researchers and their colleagues identified a pathway, known as p25/cdk5, whereby higher levels of p25 led to enhanced activity of a molecule called cdk5, which in turn led to a rise in the production of Aβ.

When lead author Karen Duff, Ph.D. and her colleagues reduced the activity of cdk5 either using an inhibitor, or by genetic manipulation, they found a decrease in Aβ production in the brain.

These results indicate that the p25/cdk5 pathway may be a treatment target for Alzheimer’s disease – in particular, inhibitors of cdk5 are particular candidates for therapeutic development.

“This finding connects the dots between p25 and increased production of amyloid beta, and this p25/cdk5 pathway could explain why the risk of Alzheimer’s disease is significantly higher following a stroke,” said Dr. Duff, professor of pathology at Columbia University Medical Center.

“However, we still need to verify that this pathway is actually set in motion after a stroke; right now the data is still circumstantial.”

Dr. Duff’s laboratory is currently working on experiments to verify this pathway’s involvement using human post-mortem tissue of stroke patients.

The specific pathway investigated was shown to be most active in young mice, as compared to older mice suggesting that p25/cdk5 may not be implicated in late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of this neurodegenerative disease.

Source: Columbia University

Link Between Stroke and Alzheimer’s

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Link Between Stroke and Alzheimer’s. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/03/19/link-between-stroke-and-alzheimers/2052.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.