UT Health Newsroom: Team discovers novel root cause of tau-induced neurodegeneration

Original story: UT Health San Antonio Newsroom

By Will Sansom

SAN ANTONIO (April 13, 2022) — Researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) today reported the discovery of a novel mechanism by which pathological forms of tau protein cause neurons to die. Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) are among more than 20 disorders that include tau protein pathology.

The newly found mechanism of tau-induced damage can be altered pharmacologically, the scientists noted, making it a novel target for drug development.

The study, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, “provides a framework for future studies in vertebrate models of tauopathy and eventually clinical trials in people,” first author Gabrielle Zuniga said. Zuniga is an MD/PhD student in the South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program offered jointly by the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences of UT Health San Antonio.

“The fact it is a druggable target is really exciting, and it is a new mechanism that wasn’t previously established,” Zuniga said.

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