HDAC1 Enzyme & Alzheimer’s
Researchers from MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have been working diligently on an enzyme called HDAC1 to determine any correlation between this enzyme and Alzheimer’s disease. What they discovered is remarkable. Li-Heui Tsai, Director of the institute reported that the enzyme is an “anti-aging molecule.”
Alzheimer’s disease commonly referred to as AD, is the most commonly occurring major neurocognitive disorder accounting for up to 80% of al cases of major neurocognitive disorders. It is estimated that more than 5 million people in the U.S. alone have AD. As we age, the prevalence of AD increases exponentially—2% of adults under 69, 5% of adults between 71-79, 24% of older adults 80-89 and more than 37% of those over the age of 90 have AD.
The disease is characterized by plaques (amyloid) and tangles (neurofibrillary protein tau) in the brain beginning in the subcortex near the hippocampus and amygdala. These plaques and tangles grow and spread throughout the brain over many years causing the ill effects of Alzheimer’s.
The lead researcher at MIT, Ping-Chieh Pao, used mice to understand how HDAC1 activated OGG1, which is another enzyme used to repair damage to the brain DNA’s 8-oxo-guanine lesions which are a signature characteristic in patients with AD.
Perhaps researchers and neurocognitive scientists will discover various HDAC1-activating drugs which could help treat patients for other age-related cognitive deterioration as well as those with Alzheimer’s disease. Decades ago, Exifone was one such drug; however, it was removed from the market due to hepatotoxicity (liver damage) side effects with patients.
Stay tuned to this research as we follow this team from MIT and hope for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.