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SYSTEMS BIOLOGY IN THE STUDY OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS: FOCUS ON ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

SYSTEMS BIOLOGY IN THE STUDY OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS: FOCUS ON ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE,Giulio M. Pasinetti,Susanne Hiller-Sturmhöfel

SYSTEMS BIOLOGY IN THE STUDY OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS: FOCUS ON ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE  
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Systems biology approaches may be useful for studying the mechanisms underlying alcohol's harmful effects on the brain. Such approaches already are used in the study of Alzheimer's disease (AD), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that, with the overall increase in life expectancy, will affect an increasing proportion of the population and become an increasingly serious public health concern. Systems biology approaches such as complementary DNA (cDNA) microarray analyses have helped identify several genes whose expression is altered in patients exhibiting the earliest stages of AD. Several of these genes are involved in the release of messenger molecules from the ends of nerve cells (i.e., in synaptic vesicle functioning), and their particular role in AD must be investigated further using conventional molecular biological approaches. Similarly, protein array analyses have identified candidate proteins that may play a role in the development of AD. Finally, proteomic approaches, such as certain mass spectrometry techniques, have been used to search for biomarkers of the progression from normal cognitive functioning to mild cognitive impairment and AD, which eventually may allow early and reliable diagnosis of the disease.
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