Our laboratory is investigating the impact of beta amyloid, one of the major pathogenic elements in Alzheimer's disease, on synaptic function and toxicity. At 'physiological' levels of beta amyloid (pM), it appears to act as a positive neuromodulator. As beta amyloid accumulates in Alzheimer's disease, its action turns to toxicity. Recently, we have found that the presence of nicotinic receptors, putative targets for beta amyloid, sensitizes neurons to toxic action of beta amyloid.
Approaches in use:
Transfected neuronal cell lines
Primary neuronal cultures; Primary slice cultures
Neurotransmitter release assays
Extracellular recording in hippocampal slices (LTP; PPF)
Contextual fear conditioning