The authors of this paper performed a number of different experiments including synaptic-plasticity–based analysis and behavioral screening of synthetic compounds, for identifying single compounds that are capable of rescuing the amyloid β-induced memory loss in both transgenic fruit fly and transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. They found two clinically available drugs and three synthetic compounds which showed positive effects in behavioral tests and also antagonized the amyloid β oligomer-induced activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor. Oligomeric amyloid β42 peptides have been found to stimulate the epidermal growth factor receptor while monomeric amyloid β42 expressed opposite effects.  They suggest that overactivation of epidermal growth factor receptors plays a critical role in amyloid β-induced memory loss and that epidermal growth factor receptor is a preferred treatment target. Based on their current studies, testing of epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors in Alzheimer’s disease patients may be a useful future research direction.

Wang L, Chiang H-C, Wu W, Liang B, Xie Z, Yao X, Ma W, Du S and Zhong Y: Epidermal growth factor receptor is a preferred target for treating Amyloid-β–induced memory loss. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA [Epub ahead of print September 27, 2012; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1208011109].

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