Estrogen Regulation of Plasticity and Bioenergetics Provides a Framework for Predicting Estrogen-dependent Cognitive Functions

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Brinton Labs have published in Trends In Pharmacological Sciences an integrative analysis of estrogen-inducible plasticity and its use as a strategy for predicting cognitive domains affected by estrogen. Estrogen enhancement of plasticity is evidenced by increases in neurogenesis, neural network connectivity and synaptic transmission. In parallel, estrogen increases mitochondrial function to provide the ATP necessary to sustain increased energetic demand. The pattern of plasticity predicts that estrogen would preferentially affect cognitive tasks of greater complexity, temporal demand and associative challenge. Thus, estrogen deprivation should be associated with decrements in these functions.

New Brinton Study Shows Mitochondria Sag Early in Alzheimer's Disease Mouse Model

Monday, August 10, 2009

A new study from Roberta Diaz Brinton and colleagues at the University of Southern California shows that flagging energy generation starts very early and gets worse with age in a mouse model of AD. In a paper published in PNAS online, Brinton and coworkers report mitochondrial deficits in embryonic neurons from female mice expressing a trio of AD-related proteins. The Alzheimer's Research Forum also posted information on the study regarding the observed malfunction of mitochondria worsens when the animals reach reproductive senescence (the mouse equivalent of human menopause). The results indicate that mitochondrial problems begin long before amyloid deposition begins, and thus may be a causal contributor to the development of AD pathology in these mice.

New Drugs for Alzheimer’s: NIA Boosts Translational Research

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles knew she needed to take the next step. Her studies showed that allopregnanolone, one of the most common steroids in the brain, boosted the brain’s regenerative abilities and reversed the cognitive deficits in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Thanks to the NIA’s commitment to translational research, she could begin the preclinical development of allopregnanolone as an AD therapeutic.

Roberta Diaz Brinton – A Shining STAR featured in National Institute on Aging Links Spring 2009 Newsletter

Monday, July 27, 2009

This issue of Links profiles Roberta Diaz Brinton, Ph.D., an NIA-supported researcher. Brinton’s compelling story starts with her childhood recovery from spinal meningitis and leads to her work today as Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy. At USC, Brinton explores the neurobiology of the aging female brain and its vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease.