Voss, of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Davis, recently published a paper in the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS one) that has developed small molecules that can block the pathways of Alzheimer's disease.
Deposition and oligomers of amyloid beta (aβ) play an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The Aβ peptide segment can be produced when the membrane correlation domain of amyloid precursor protein is decomposed by β and γ-secreting enzymes. There is a variety of evidence that soluble aβ oligomers (aβo) is the primary neurotoxic substance in AD etiology. The compound is a small 3-ring molecule that was initially used as a contrast agent for the detection of amyloid protein in pet. Previous studies have said that, in addition to the detection of amyloid protein, the compound can also be combined with aβ, causing aβ structure instability, thus further reducing the formation of amyloid. Recently, John C. Voss and others have said they have confirmed that a compound can specifically destroy aβo, thus blocking the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease.
Since biomolecules do not emit a signal for electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) detection, the researchers attach a special molecule-nitro-oxygen spin marker (which emits a special signal of EPR detection) to the compound to make its activity more significant in the EPR spectrum.
The researchers found that the inhibition of aβ by spin-labeled compounds was more effective than that of unmarked fmoc compounds. In addition, nitro-oxygen has the antioxidant ability, can remove the nerve cell injury and causes the inflammation the oxygen free radical, thus protects the nerve cell better.
Voss said that a spin-labeled compound has the following important properties: It is used in imaging studies to detect amyloid, inhibit the formation of aβ, and reduce inflammation. Therefore, the substance has great potential in the study, diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.