Protein interactions in dementia with Lewy bodies

Scientific title: Examining effects of an interaction between α- and β-synucleins in dementia with Lewy bodies

Type of project: Pilot study

What do we already know?

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is characterised by the accumulation of a protein called α-synuclein into deposits known as Lewy bodies in the parts of the brain are associated with memory. This may lead to neurodegeneration in these brain regions. Another member of the same protein family, β-synuclein, has been shown to have anti-aggregating effects over α-synuclein in a Petri dish.

What is this project trying to find out?

This project aims to investigate how levels of β-synuclein are associated with α-synuclein aggregation and Lewy body formation, resulting in brain cell damage in DLB patients.

How will they do this?

Human post-mortem brain tissue already obtained from a brain bank will be used in this study. Cells containing Lewy bodies will be extracted from the tissue and the levels of β-synuclein gene expression, together with other pathways thought to be involved in dementia, will be examined to see the relationship with α-synuclein aggregation.

Why is it important?

If a direct relationship is found between α- and β-synuclein, then β-synuclein could be targeted to prevent α-synuclein aggregation, which may in turn slow the progression of DLB in patients. This could potentially be extended to other pathologies involving α-synuclein aggregates such as Parkinson’s disease.

Further information

Please click here for more information about the work of Dr Oleg Anichtchik