Researchers identify a protein involved in the memory loss and inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease

A study led by researchers of the Institute of Neurosciences of the UB (UBNeuro) has determined the levels of the RTp801 protein increase in the hippocampal formation in post-mortem samples of patients with Alzheimer’s and in animal models of the disease. The study, published in the journal Cell Death and Disease, states that such protein is related to the neuropathological severity of the illness.

“Our results suggest that the RTP801 protein could be a new target for future theragnostic studies –therapy and diagnostic–, since it acts at the same time as a biomarker of the neuroinflammation and the progress of the disease, and as a mediator of memory loss. This turns the RT801 into a promising therapeutical target for Alzheimer’s treatment”, note Cristina Malagelada and Albert Giralt, researchers at UBNeuro and co-leaders of the study. Leticia Pérez-Sisqués, UB researcher and first author of the paper, adds that “another important result we found in mice models with Alzheimer’s is that, when regulating the low neuronal expression of RTP801, we unexpectedly prevent gliosis and the increase in key inflammatory proteins”.

In Alzheimer’s, the coding gene for RTP801, the DDIT4 gene, is responsive to Aβ and modulates its cytotoxicity in vitro. Researchers also observed that the RTP801 mRNA levels increased in the lymphocytes of patients with Alzheimer’s.

In previous studies, conducted by this team of the UB, this protein was identified to contribute to the neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s, which was later also stated for Huntington’s. In these cases, researchers determined that the low regulation of RTP801 prevented the appearance of motor deficits.

Article Reference:

Pérez-Sisqués, L. et al“RTP801/REDD1 contributes to neuroinflammation severity and memory impairments in Alzheimer’s disease”Cell Death and Disease, 2021. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-03899-y