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1.  Protective Effects of Testosterone on Presynaptic Terminals against Oligomeric β-Amyloid Peptide in Primary Culture of Hippocampal Neurons 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:103906.
Increasing lines of evidence support that testosterone may have neuroprotective effects. While observational studies reported an association between higher bioavailable testosterone or brain testosterone levels and reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD), there is limited understanding of the underlying neuroprotective mechanisms. Previous studies demonstrated that testosterone could alleviate neurotoxicity induced by β-amyloid (Aβ), but these findings mainly focused on neuronal apoptosis. Since synaptic dysfunction and degeneration are early events during the pathogenesis of AD, we aim to investigate the effects of testosterone on oligomeric Aβ-induced synaptic changes. Our data suggested that exposure of primary cultured hippocampal neurons to oligomeric Aβ could reduce the length of neurites and decrease the expression of presynaptic proteins including synaptophysin, synaptotagmin, and synapsin-1. Aβ also disrupted synaptic vesicle recycling and protein folding machinery. Testosterone preserved the integrity of neurites and the expression of presynaptic proteins. It also attenuated Aβ-induced impairment of synaptic exocytosis. By using letrozole as an aromatase antagonist, we further demonstrated that the effects of testosterone on exocytosis were unlikely to be mediated through the estrogen receptor pathway. Furthermore, we showed that testosterone could attenuate Aβ-induced reduction of HSP70, which suggests a novel mechanism that links testosterone and its protective function on Aβ-induced synaptic damage. Taken together, our data provide further evidence on the beneficial effects of testosterone, which may be useful for future drug development for AD.
doi:10.1155/2014/103906
PMCID: PMC4086619  PMID: 25045655
2.  The Relevance of Short-Range Fibers to Cognitive Efficiency and Brain Activation in Aging and Dementia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e90307.
The integrity of structural connectivity in a functional brain network supports the efficiency of neural processing within relevant brain regions. This study aimed to quantitatively investigate the short- and long-range fibers, and their differential roles in the lower cognitive efficiency in aging and dementia. Three groups of healthy young, healthy older adults and patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) participated in this combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) study on prospective memory (PM). Short- and long-range fiber tracts within the PM task engaged brain networks were generated. The correlation between the fMRI signal change, PM performance and the DTI characters were calculated. FMRI results showed that the PM-specific frontal activations in three groups were distributed hierarchically along the rostrocaudal axis in the frontal lobe. In an overall PM condition generally activated brain network among the three groups, tractography was used to generate the short-range fibers, and they were found impaired in both healthy older adults and AD patients. However, the long-range fiber tracts were only impaired in AD. Additionally, the mean diffusivity (MD) of short-range but not long-range fibers was positively correlated with fMRI signal change and negatively correlated with the efficiency of PM performance. This study suggests that the disintegrity of short-range fibers may contribute more to the lower cognitive efficiency and higher compensatory brain activation in healthy older adults and more in AD patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090307
PMCID: PMC3973665  PMID: 24694731
3.  Current neuroimaging techniques in Alzheimer's disease and applications in animal models 
With Alzheimer’s disease (AD) quickly becoming the most costly disease to society, and with no disease-modifying treatment currently, prevention and early detection have become key points in AD research. Important features within this research focus on understanding disease pathology, as well as finding biomarkers that can act as early indicators and trackers of disease progression or potential treatment. With the advances in neuroimaging technology and the development of new imaging techniques, the search for cheap, noninvasive, sensitive biomarkers becomes more accessible. Modern neuroimaging techniques are able to cover most aspects of disease pathology, including visualization of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, cortical atrophy, neuronal loss, vascular damage, and changes in brain biochemistry. These methods can provide complementary information, resulting in an overall picture of AD. Additionally, applying neuroimaging to animal models of AD could bring about greater understanding in disease etiology and experimental treatments whilst remaining in vivo. In this review, we present the current neuroimaging techniques used in AD research in both their human and animal applications, and discuss how this fits in to the overall goal of understanding AD.
PMCID: PMC3477739  PMID: 23133824
Alzheimer’s disease; animal models; ASL; biomarkers; MRI; MRS; neuroimaging; PET

Results 1-3 (3)