Monday, November 5, 2007 - 12:50 PM

Examining Mechanisms Of Alzheimer's With A Neuron Model

Bradford Gates and Mariajose Castellanos. Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, UMBC, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250

Although the presence of beta amyloid plaques has been found to cause Alzheimer's disease, the exact mechanism is still poorly understood. A better grasp of how beta amyloid plaques interact with the ion channels of neurons is necessary for the development of more effective methods of prevention. Using models derived for individual ion channels, a comprehensive model of the electrical activity of a neuron was created. The activity of the neuron was tested under multiple conditions using various levels of injected current to simulate the activity of neurons in the human brain. By decreasing or halting activity of particular ion channels, the affect that such changes would have on normal activity could be seen. Correlating these various changes with experimental data on the affect that beta amyloid plaques have on the activity of neurons, under these same conditions, causes the model to be able to predict which ion channels are altered by the plaques. Several models were created based upon previous studies and tested against experimental data. Despite the fact that most of these predicted models do not show changes in response to injected currents similar to the observed changes, the remaining models provide a valuable insight into the possible mechanisms which drive the interactions between beta amyloid and a neuron.