"This new line of investigation will provide a greater understanding of TSPO glial cell biology, and the knowledge gained may prove beneficial in devising therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative diseases," said Guilarte, who led the recent research with Columbia University doctoral student Meredith K. Loth and research associate Sara R. Guariglia.
The team's findings have been published in the paper, TSPO Finds NOX2 in Microglia for Redox Homeostasis, which appears in the latest issue of the scientific journal, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. In it, the researchers suggest TSPO may serve a protective role within cells by defending against toxic ROS that is generated by microglia as a result of brain injury. It's possible that at a certain point, however, TSPO levels can no longer regulate ROS, resulting in a chronic "toxic state" that leads to neurodegeneration.
The paper goes on to explain how TSPO levels can help provide a real-time picture of inflammation related to neurodegenerative diseases, which will eventually allow doctors to track how treatment reduces inflammation.
For example, currently diagnosis of Alzheimer's relies largely on documenting mental decline, like forgetfulness and a decreased ability to maintain focus and solve problems. But the ability to visualize and measure TSPO levels in the living brain using noninvasive neuroimaging techniques can provide a virtual window to identify and treat Alzheimer's as well as other diseases linked to neuroinflammation. TSPO levels allow researchers to see a real-time picture of where inflammation is occurring, and eventually it will allow doctors to track how treatment reduces inflammation.
"This line of investigation is important because through use of a biomarker like TSPO, future treatments could target neurodegenerative disease in its earliest stages—before irreversible brain damage or mental decline occurs," said Guilarte.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/guilarte-discovery-opens-door-to-further-research-into-treatment-of-neurodegenerative-disease-300275795.html
SOURCE Florida International University