Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association Assigns a Prestigious Grant to a Sapienza Research Project

The international association dedicated to research on Alzheimer’s has selected and financed a project developed by a team headed by Prof. Eugenio Barone at the Sapienza “A. Rossi Fanelli” Department of Biochemical Sciences. The objective is to analyse the cerebral insulin resistance mechanism associated with the insurgence of this and other neurodegenerative diseases

Project “Unravelling a Novel Mechanism Favouring Brain Insulin Resistance Development,” coordinated by Prof. Eugenio Barone at the “A. Rossi Fanelli” Department of Biochemical Sciences has been selected and financed by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Alzheimer’s Association is one of the most important international associations fighting against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. It has been working for over thirty years to promote the progress of science, improve patient assistance and reduce the risk of dementia by raising awareness on brain health.

The Sapienza project, which passed all the assessment phases with very high scores, aims to analyse the temporal evolution of the molecular alterations that affect the insulin signal in the brain during the development of Alzheimer’s.

Recently, in fact, a strong association has been identified between insulin signal alterations in the brain and the insurgence of neurodegenerative diseases and Alzheimer’s foremost. Normally, insulin plays a fundamental role in regulating the biochemical processes underlying the cognitive functions that include memory and learning.

“This is why,” explains Prof. Barone, “defects in the answer of neuron cells to the effects of insulin, known as cerebral insulin resistance, seem to have a significant role in the development of dementia that characterizes Alzheimer’s. To date, however, we have not identified any biochemical marker that would allow us to recognize th­­is type of alterations precociously.”

In particular, the Sapienza research team will focus on the role of the biliverdin reductase A (BVR-A) protein, which previous laboratory studies have suggested could be the protein that is precociously altered during the development of the cerebral insulin resistance phenomenon.

In this context, the team will also evaluate the effects of a new molecule that selectively modulates the activity of BVR-A and restores the correct operation of the insulin signal in the brain in order to prevent/slow down the deleterious effects of cerebral insulin resistance in Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is one of the main neurodegenerative pathologies affecting adults that is characterized by memory defects that progressively lead towards dementia. According to the most recent report by the Alzheimer Association, nearly 47 million people around the world are affected by this disease – and the number is destined to increase to 75 million in 2030 and 130 million in 2050, unless adequate measures are identified.



Eugenio Barone -

“A. Rossi Fanelli” Department of Biochemical Sciences


Tuesday, 03 September 2019

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