Alzheimer Disease

Understanding Cell Signaling in Alzheimer's

What is Alzheimer's?

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"Healthy Brain Versus Alzheimer's Brain | Alzheimer's Association." Healthy Brain Versus Alzheimer's Brain | Alzheimer's Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.
  • progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain's nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes.

  • It is characterized by the development of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles; the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain; and the death of these nerve cells.

About Alzheimers'" Alzheimer's Foundation. N.p., May 2015. Web. Nov. 2015.

Types of Cell Signaling

Stages of Signal Transduction Pathway

  1. Reception: signal is recieved
  2. Transduction: signal is relayed across cell
  3. Response: a cellular response occurs
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"AP Biology Chapter 11 Cell Communication AP Biology Gap Junctions between Animal Cells Cell-Cell Communication Animal Cells Use Gap Junctions to Send." Presentation "" N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Alzheimer's Effect on Cell Signaling

Alzheimer's disease causes a plaque called amyloid. This plaque is similar to the cholosteral plaque that disrupts the flow of blood through the arteries. Amyloid plaque acts similarily, stopping sufficient blood flow to the brain and inhibiting proper communication through endocrine signaling, and eventually neuronal communication through paracrine/autosominal signaling.


Receptors and ligands play a crucial role in this and in all biological systems by allowing cells to communicate with each other. Short range and localized communication is performed by using receptors and ligands embedded into the cell membrane. Long range communication is performed using diffusible ligands that can spread over larger regions.
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"Cell Surface Receptor." Johnson Cote, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Ligands and Alzheimers

Both IMSB and TDZM are amyloid bonding molecules. They inhibit Abeta fibrillization in test tubes and in cultured cells. Thus, small amyloid binding molecules such as IMSB and TDZM which cross the blood brain barrier are potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of Alzheimer's. Essentially, through the manipulation of ligands, Alzheimers could not only have a cure but also a prevention.

"Result Filters." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"5.2.3 ReceptorsLigands." ReceptorsLigands. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Protein Kinases in Alzheimers

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Protein Kinases and Manipulated responses Due to Alzheimers

Alzheimer's disease manipulates protein kinases to help produce the protein amyloid. Amyloid is also a plaque which can disrupt cellular communication or cause a different response than was desired. Essentially, Alzheimers causes the cells to undergo apoptosis through their own communication system. Many therapeutic studies are based on the idea of stopping ligand communication from connecting with the amyloid proteins.

Healthy cell signaling may cause an increase in metabolic energy, but with Alzheimer's disease, this signal is delayed or completely stopped and metabolic energies are depleated.

Potential Cure

mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) is a potential cure and prevention for Alzheimer disease. Research has shown that through mRNA apoptosis is able to be reversed and therefore alters the effects of Alzheimer's. The difficulty being posed currently is being able to control which nucleotides the mRNA attaches to and essentially what response it will produce. As of now, there are no negative effects in experimental trials with mRNA, but there is only a low percentage of people who have seen altering results.
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"Molecular Genetics." N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.