New research focuses on prion diseases

Mar 14, 2011

New research by Chongsuk Ryou, researcher at the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics in the UK College of Medicine, may shed light on possible treatments for prion diseases.

Prion diseases, which include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and ("mad cow" disease) in cattle, are caused by prions — unconventional pathogens composed of infectious protein particles and resistant to conventional sterilization procedures. Presently there is no known agent or procedure that can halt or reverse damage caused by prion disease.

Ryou and colleagues, however, have demonstrated through recent work that polymers of amino acid lysine (polylysines) are able to block propagation of prions by targeting plasminogen - a substance that stimulates the multiplication of prions. In test tubes and cultured cells, polylysines halted the spread of prions.

Furthermore, in an animal model of prion disease, mice treated with polylysines displayed symptoms later, survived longer and showed lower levels of prions in their brains than did untreated mice.

"Our study suggests that polylysine is a potential anti-prion agent and validates plasminogen as a therapeutic target to combat prion disease," said Ryou.

Ryou's research appears in the latest issue of the journal Biomaterials.

Explore further: Researchers uncover secrets of internal cell fine-tuning

Provided by University of Kentucky

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Prions show their good side

May 07, 2008

Prions, the infamous agents behind mad cow disease and its human variation, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, also have a helpful side. According to new findings from Gerald Zamponi and colleagues, normally functioning prions prevent ...

Sequence and structure key to prion disease transmission

Jun 14, 2010

Prion diseases are lethal neurodegenerative disorders that include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE; commonly known as mad cow disease) in cows. A team of researchers, led ...

Prion propagates in foreign host

Jul 05, 2007

Prions -- infectious, oddly-folded proteins that are the main suspects in fatal neurodegenerative diseases such as Cruetzfeldt-Jakob and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or "mad cow" -- remain mostly a mystery to scientists. ...

BSE pathogens can be transmitted by air

Jan 13, 2011

Airborne prions are also infectious and can induce mad cow disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disorder. This is the surprising conclusion of researchers at the University of Zurich, the University Hospital Zurich and the University ...

Recommended for you

Researchers uncover secrets of internal cell fine-tuning

7 hours ago

New research from scientists at the University of Kent has shown for the first time how the structures inside cells are regulated – a breakthrough that could have a major impact on cancer therapy development.

Microscopic rowing—without a cox

8 hours ago

Many different types of cell, including sperm, bacteria and algae, propel themselves using whip-like appendages known as flagella. These protrusions, about one-hundredth of a millimetre long, function like ...

Illuminating the dark side of the genome

13 hours ago

Almost 50 percent of our genome is made up of highly repetitive DNA, which makes it very difficult to be analysed. In fact, repeats are discarded in most genome-wide studies and thus, insights into this part ...

User comments : 0