Neuroinflammatory profile of microglial extracellular vesicles in Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable degenerative disease caused by the misfolding and build-up of key proteins resulting in the death of specialised brain cells called neurons. It has been suggested that affected cells transmit these damaged proteins to healthy cells, together with several other factors altering the course of the disease, resulting in further Alzheimer’s disease progression. The cells could do this by packaging these proteins in small membrane-bound packets known as extracellular vesicles (EVs) which carry the language specific to each cell into their surroundings which lets different cell types and brain regions communicate. Although EVs are known to facilitate the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, the lack of sensitive technology means very little is known about which proteins EVs communicate from specific cell types within the brain. New techniques allow researchers to obtain EVs from human brain tissues and advances in technology enable EVs to be characterised with exquisite sensitivity. This project aims to use these techniques to obtain EVs from healthy control and Alzheimer’s disease tissues and identify different EV populations, focusing on inflammatory communication. This will allow Dr Spiers to observe how specific populations of EVs contribute to inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Jereme Spiers is a postdoctoral research fellow investigating mechanisms of neurodegeneration in the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University.