Brain suppression of acetylcholine release
Early cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease can be improved by drugs that slow the breakdown of an important brain messenger called acetylcholine. Researchers have known that neurons that secrete acetylcholine are vulnerable in Alzheimer's disease, but so far, they have been unable to understand specifically how a lack of acetylcholine influences behavior. However, recent advances in scientific methodologies make it possible to generate mouse models that have specific mutations. Dr. Prado has hypothesized that these methodologies can now be used to selectively impair or decrease acetylcholine secretion in certain brain regions of the mouse. Certain behaviors can now be studied in these mice and their performance correlated with the levels of acetylcholine secretion in different brain regions. This research will provide fundamental knowledge on how a deficit of acetylcholine contributes to some of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease.