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Published on 28 July 2009

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Enzyme “contributes to Alzheimer’s”


An enzyme that may cause reduced blood flow in the brain experienced by Alzheimer’s sufferers has been reported in the American Journal of Pathology.

Research into the endothelin converting enzyme-2 (ECE-2) was led by Jennifer Palmer, BRACE/Reverend Williams PhD Scholar at Bristol University’s Dementia Research Group.

Amyloid beta peptide is thought to cause narrowing of blood vessels in the brain, while ECE-2 converts an inactive precursor to endothelin-1, which constricts blood vessels and further reduces blood flow.

“Our findings raise the possibility that drugs that can block the actions of endothelin-1, and which are already licensed for treating other diseases, may also be of benefit for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Ms Palmer.

Much of the funding for her work comes from Bristol-based charity BRACE. Mark Poarch, its chief executive said: “This is real progress and opens up new areas for research.

“It is also good news for the thousands of local people who have raised money to try to beat Alzheimer’s. BRACE is stepping up its fundraising to help scientists press on and find a cure.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

American Journal of Pathology

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