University of Portsmouth
Characterisation of enteric nervous system function of the intestine in Alzheimers disease
Alzheimer's Research UK
Alzheimers disease (AD) results in the death of neurons within the brain which severely impairs cognition, mood and behaviour. AD patients also present with symptoms arising from other body systems such as the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Together, these central and peripheral symptoms impose an immense burden not only to AD patients but to their caregivers. Whilst GI disorders are not the primary cause of death in AD, identifying the underlying disease mechanisms will help to design targeted therapeutic strategies which will improve the quality of life of patients. Virtually all aspects of GI function are regulated by a local nervous system, called the enteric nervous system (ENS). Our pilot data in a mouse model of AD indicate significant changes in the expression of molecules within the ENS of the intestine which are likely to alter ENS, and thus GI function in AD. The aim of the project is to characterise these AD-associated changes in the ENS of the intestine and determine how these changes impact on GI function. This will lead to the development of treatment for an aspect of the disease which imparts an immense negative influence on the quality of life of patients.