Russian scientists have created a model of the biochemical process that occurs in brain cells at the initial stages of the development of senile dementia. The experiment confirmed the theory that the cause of age-related disorders is the action of free radicals in nerve cells. Developments will make it possible to diagnose such pathologies as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases at an early stage. It is already possible to test drugs for age-related brain diseases on the proposed model. The results of research supported by grants from the Russian Science Foundation (RSF) are published in the journal Redox Biology.
A group of scientists at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry named after M.M. Shemyakin and Yu.A. Ovchinnikova of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) recreated controlled oxidative stress in individual mouse brain cells. For this, an artificial virus was created, which acts as a carrier of a special genetic construct. It provides neurons with a program written in DNA, thanks to which the enzyme D-amino acid oxidase is produced in viruses. On artificially grown neurons infected with the virus, scientists tested that adding D-norvaline to them causes the release of hydrogen peroxide, the longest-lived reactive oxygen species molecule in the cell. The virus was then injected into the hippocampus of laboratory mice using a microsyringe to find out what changes oxidative stress causes in the living brain.
The model of the development of dementia at the cell level was built by scientists for the first time and allows you to determine the signs of the disease at an early stage. In the future, this will help diagnose mental degeneration at the very beginning, when the patient has not yet manifested cognitive impairment.