- A University of Minnesota development tested on deer could lead to earlier treatment and mitigation of neurodegenerative diseases
The search for treatments and early detection of ailments linked to cognition are one of the main scientific challenges of our time. In this race for new tools, now researchers from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, in the US, have developed a new diagnostic technique that will allow faster and more accurate detection of neurodegenerative diseases.
The method is likely to open a door for earlier treatment and mitigation of various diseases that affect humans, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and diseases that also impact animals, such as chronic wasting (CWD). in English). The new study has just been published in NanoLetters, a leading journal in its field published by the American Chemical Society.
earlier and faster
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, mad cow disease, and CWD (widely found in deer) share a common feature: the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the central nervous system. Their detection is crucial to understanding and diagnosing these devastating disorders. However, existing diagnostic methods, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunohistochemistry, can be expensive, time consuming, and limiting in terms of antibody specificity.
The University of Minnesota researchers’ method, dubbed Nano-QuIC (nanoparticle-enhanced shiver-induced conversion), significantly improves the performance of advanced protein misfolding detection methods, such as real-time shiver-induced conversion. from NIH Rocky Mountain Laboratories: RT-QuIC method.
It consists of shaking a mixture of normal proteins with a small amount of misfolded proteins, which produces a chain reaction that causes the proteins to multiply and allows the detection of these irregular substances.
Using deer tissue samples, the University of Minnesota team demonstrated that adding 50-nanometer silica nanoparticles to RT-QuIC experiments dramatically reduces detection times from about 14 hours to just four and increases sensitivity by a factor of 10.
A typical detection cycle of 14 hours means that a laboratory technician can perform only one test per normal business day. However, with a detection time of less than four hours, researchers can now perform three or even four tests per day.
Having a faster and more accurate detection method is particularly important to understand and control the transmission of chronic wasting disease, a disease that is spreading among deer in North America, Scandinavia and South Korea.
The researchers believe that Nano-QuIC could eventually prove useful in detecting protein misfolding diseases in humans, specifically Parkinson’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Alzheimer’s and ALS.
“Testing for these neurodegenerative diseases in both animals and humans has been a great challenge for our society. What we are seeing now is a really exciting time where new next-generation diagnostic tests for these diseases are emerging. The impact our research is having is vastly improving this process, making testing more sensitive and accessible,” said Peter Larsen, co-lead author of the paper and an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Minnesota.