Amyloid assembly and cerebral endothelial cells response
Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy (CAA) is the generic name for a large group of diseases characterized by the presence of amyloid beta fibrils (Aß) in small vessels and medium-sized arteries and arterioles in the brain. Although Aß is the most common CAA amyloid, many other proteins have been associated with the formation of amyloid deposits in the brain. Some of these proteins are cystatin C, transthyretin, gelsolin, and the recently described ABri and ADan peptides. The ABri and ADan peptides are associated with two rare hereditary conditions—familial British and Danish dementias—that are characterized by extensive CAA and Alzheimer's-like neurodegeneration. This is an indication that different amyloid molecules may lead to the same scenario of neuronal loss and dementia. Dr. Rostagno's is working with fibrils and pre-fibrils of various amyloid molecules and the hereditary variants involved in the production of CAA in cultures. These compounds will be fed to human cerebral endothelial cells in culture, and their toxicity as well as their ability to induce inflammation will be assessed by biochemical analysis. It is hoped that an understanding of the molecular events triggered by the toxic peptides will lead to the design and development of new treatments to modulate these cellular processes and ameliorate the impact of these neurological diseases.