NMR studies of ganglioside and AB peptide interactions
Pravat Mandal, PhD University of Pittsburgh
Amyloid plaques and tangled bundles of fiber (neurofibrillary tangles or NFTs) are thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Scientists have found that the amyloid plaques are associated with a type of molecule called gangliosides in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. There are five main gangliosides in the human brain, and research shows that some gangliosides increase while others decrease with aging. Dr. Mandal has already demonstrated through nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies that one ganglioside is capable of preventing the toxic precipitant in an experimental environment. His current goal is to understand the role of these “good” and “bad” gangliosides in the formation of toxic amyloid plaques. This research could lead to the design of new drugs that could slow or halt the symptoms of AD and could also contribute to the development of a noninvasive way to test for Alzheimer's disease using magnetic resonance spectroscopy.