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Journal Club December 19th at 13:00 EST/18:00 UK

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Happy Holidays! Journal Club will be a bit earlier than usual this month as everyone will be busy celebrating the holidays soon. Dr. Medvedik wanted to take a look at something a bit different this month. We are taking a look at a fascinating study where researchers used light to treat Alzheimer’s plaque formation in mice. This is considerably different to more traditional approaches to treat this disease so we thought we would take a look at the study and discuss the findings.

Abstract

Changes in gamma oscillations (20–50 Hz) have been observed in several neurological disorders. However, the relationship between gamma oscillations and cellular pathologies is unclear. Here we show reduced, behaviourally driven gamma oscillations before the onset of plaque formation or cognitive decline in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Optogenetically driving fast-spiking parvalbumin-positive (FS-PV)-interneurons at gamma (40 Hz), but not other frequencies, reduces levels of amyloid-β (Aβ)1–40 and Aβ 1–42 isoforms. Gene expression profiling revealed induction of genes associated with the morphological transformation of microglia, and histological analysis confirmed increased microglia co-localization with Aβ. Subsequently, we designed a non-invasive 40 Hz light-flickering regime that reduced Aβ1–40 and Aβ1–42 levels in the visual cortex of pre-depositing mice and mitigated plaque load in aged, depositing mice. Our findings uncover a previously unappreciated function of gamma rhythms in recruiting both neuronal and glial responses to attenuate Alzheimer’s-disease-associated pathology.

Iaccarino, H. F., Singer, A. C., Martorell, A. J., Rudenko, A., Gao, F., Gillingham, T. Z., … & Adaikkan, C. (2016). Gamma frequency entrainment attenuates amyloid load and modifies microglia. Nature, 540(7632), 230-235.

Unfortunately, the paper is behind an expensive paywall on nature, so if like us you agree that science, and in particular knowledge pertaining to health, should not be behind paywalls grab the paper for free at Sci-hub.

CategoryJournal club
About the author
Oliver Medvedik

Oliver Medvedik

Oliver Medvedik, Co-founder of Genspace citizen science laboratory in Brooklyn NY, earned his Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences program. As part of his doctoral work he has used single-celled budding yeast as a model system to map the genetic pathways that underlie the processes of aging in more complex organisms, such as humans. Prior to arriving in Boston for his doctoral studies, he has lived most of his life in New York City. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology from Hunter College, City University of New York. Since graduating from Harvard, he has worked as a biotechnology consultant, taught molecular biology to numerous undergraduates at Harvard University and mentored two of Harvard’s teams for the international genetically engineered machines competition (IGEM) held annually at M.I.T. Oliver is also the Director of The Maurice Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering at the Cooper Union, New York City. The Maurice Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering is open to all Cooper Union faculty and students working on bioengineering projects requiring equipment and space for tissue culture, genetic engineering, biomechanics, and related research. Faculty that is currently using the facility are pursuing groundbreaking biomedical research in such fields as biomedical devices, tissue engineering, obstructive sleep apnea biomechanics also collaborating with several major New York City-based hospitals. The Kanbar Center continues to provide space for undergraduate teams participating in the international genetically engineered competition (iGEM) during the summer, as well as space for courses that offer a biological laboratory component.
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