Brain enzyme could prevent Alzheimer’s, neurodegenerative disease
AN ENZYME that protects the brain against oxidative stress may also pro tect against the formation of protein clumps - a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases. This is the conclusion of a new study by researchers from Indiana University, who recently published their findings in the journal PLOS Biology. The researchers believe their discovery could lead to the development of new drugs that preserve cognitive function.
An accumulation of protein clumps is known to occur in a number of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - also known a Lou Gehrig’s disease. In Alzheimer’s disease, for example, studies have shown that patients often experience a build-up of a protein called tau, which clumps together in nerve cells to form “tangles.”
This process - known as proteinopathy occurs with different proteins in a variety of brain diseases and is believed to play a role in their progression. Now, study co-leader Yousuf Ali, of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana, and colleagues have discovered an enzyme that might halt proteinopathy.
To reach their findings, the team analyzed the brains of more than 500 deceased elderly adults who were part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project before death. As part of the project, the cognitive function of each participant was assessed annually. The researchers focused on levels of nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase 2 (NMNAT2). This is an enzyme known to produce a compound called nicotine adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which protects our brains against oxidative stress triggered by excess nerve cell activity.
From their analysis, the researchers found that adults who had higher levels of NMNAT2 in their brains were less likely to have experienced cognitive decline; individuals with lower levels of the enzyme were more likely to have had dementia. This finding indicates that as well as protecting the brain against oxidative stress, NMNAT2 also protects the brain against memory and learning impairment.
Next, the team analyzed the brains of mice that had high levels of the tau protein. The found that mice with higher levels of NMNAT2 in the hippocampus - the brain region important for learning and memory - had reduced levels of tau, compared with mice that had lower levels of NMNAT2. Commenting on the possible implications of their findings, the authors say: “Our work here suggests that NMNAT2 uses either its chaperone or enzymatic function to combat neuronal insults in a context-dependent manner.
In Alzheimer disease brains, NMNAT2 levels are less than 50 percent of control levels, and we propose that enhancing NMNAT2 function may provide an effective therapeutic intervention to reserve cognitive function.” KARACHI—In view of reported ‘unannounced and prolong load-shedding in the city’, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah presided over an important meeting with K-Electric authorities here Wednesday and urged the power utility services not to conduct load-shedding during Sehri and Iftari timings.
“I want you to exempt all the pumping stations of water board from load shedding and set up a hotline with Commissioner Karachi for close coordination,” he said. The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance & Energy Syed Murad Ali Shah, Principal Secretary to CM Alamuddin Bullo, CEO K-Electric Tayyab Tareen, provincial Secretary Energy Agha Wasif and senior officers of K-Electric.
The CEO KE briefed the chief minister about their Ramzan plan and assured that no load-shedding would be conducted during Seher and Iftar in residential and commercial areas of the city.
He added that unannounced loadshedding was not being carried out anywhere in the city. Additionally, strategic locations remain exempted throughout the day, including key hospitals and KWSB installations.
The KE teams are on-ground and active 24/7 and have the capability to resolve any fault or issue to provide maximum relief to the people of Karachi. The overall duration of loadshedding has been decreased.
Tayyab also highlighted that there were isolated cases of tripping or faults due to overloading and ‘kudas’ for which the utility was conducting rigorous anti-power theft drives in the city. The KE faces serious resistance and sometimes violent when kundas or hooks are removed.
The Chief Minister said that he had held a meeting with KWSB and KMC administration. They complained against power outage at the pumping stations and sometimes fluctuation or weak voltages. In both the cases, water supply to the city is affected badly. This must be improved, he urged.
The Chief Minister asked the KE authorities to share load-shedding schedule with the Commissioner
photo Karachi who through his deputy commissioner would perform monitoring work so unannounced load-shedding or power outages could be controlled.
He directed Commissioner Karachi to set up a hotline with KE authorities so that the issues like extra load-shedding, prolong outages and technical faults could be solved through mutual coordination. The KE authorities told the Chief Minister that there was a demand of 3,200 MW electricity against which total generation comes to 2700 MW.
“We are putting all out efforts to overcome the shortfall and inshallah within next few years it could be done,” said Tayyab. Finance & Energy Minister said that he would also be in touch with KE to resolve the issues of load-shedding.
Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah presiding over a meeting with CEO K-Electric Tayyab Taseen at CM House.—PO