Membrane vesicles, which are essential for the trafficking of materials across nerve cells, may be an important factor in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from NYU Langone Medical Center. The study conducted by Dr. Ralph Nixon, Professor of Psychiatry and Cell Biology, and Ph.D student Seonil Kim showed that mouse neurons that over-produce a precursor to the amyloid protein closely linked to Alzheimer's disease development were unable to shuttle the vesicles to their proper destinations in nerve cells, causing them instead to enlarge abnormally and accumulate.
According to the researchers, the impeded transport of the vesicles might affect communications within and between nerve cells that are critical for cognition.
They said that disrupted transport of the vesicles could lead to the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's disease.
A presentation on the study was made at the ongoing Alzheimer's Association 2008 International Conference, which ends on July 31 in Chicago.