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SNU and POSTEC’s Research Teams Find Early Diagnosis for Alzheimer’s Disease

Jan 26, 2017

Professor MOOK Inhee (College of Medicine)
Professor MOOK Inhee (College of Medicine)

On December 23 2016, a research team led by Professor Inhee Mook, SNU Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Professor KyoHan Ahn, POSTEC (Pohang University of Science and Technology) Department of Chemistry, discovered a biomarker that indicates the onset and the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. The biomarker was discovered through Inner Imaging using two-photon microscopes.

Generally, Alzheimer’s disease has been analyzed using MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) tests, but they are high-cost, have low resolution, and cause heavy radiation exposure. Since the use of Inner Imaging is also very complicated, until now experiments have quantified enzymes by extracting samples from the brain, or by analyzing enzyme activity externally.

The research teams developed a two-photon fluorescent substance that detects beta amyloid and monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzymes. They applied the two-photon fluorescence probe method in their experiment and found a positive correlation with Alzheimer’s disease. The teams implemented this method using the brain of a mouse. They successfully tracked in real time the MAO enzyme and found that it gradually becomes more active with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The team is the first to discover that amyloid plaques increase and the MAO enzymes also become more active as the disease progresses.

This research is significant as it can contribute towards the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease using MAO as a biomarker that not only discovers the presence of the disease, but also reveals its progress.

Written by Hye Bin Lee, SNU English Editor,
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations,