Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is recognized by the buildup of the protein amyloid beta (Aβ), but many researchers have also found an increase of the molecule CD40L in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. A research group at the Roskamp Institute, headed by Dr. Michael Mullan, found that the stimulation of CD40L increases the levels of Aβ in the cellular models of AD and the stimulation of CD40L of cells that are needed for the defense of the nervous system results in increases of cytokines (pro-inflammatory molecules). GM-SCF, the granulocyte macrophage colony stimulation factor, is a cytokine that is a part of the brain’s inflammation responses. Many previous studies have linked Alzheimer’s disease with increases in levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Through their study, which was published in the journal, Cytokine, the Roskamp researchers’ results have indicated that GM-SCF “operates downstream of CD40/CD40L interaction and that GM-CSF modulates Aβ production” (Volmar et al., in press).

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Wendy Liu



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