Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. D. Allan Butterfield

Abstract

In this thesis study we examined glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) and its effects over Nrf2 and Pin 1 as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a prolonged high oxidative environment. Transcription factor Nrf2 is vital in the brain’s defense against oxidative insults through its up-regulation of over 100 antioxidants. Depletion of the brain’s antioxidant defense system results in intolerance to an oxidative environment, contributing to the progression of AD. The regulatory Pin 1 protein promotes cellular homeostasis, and when down-regulated results in increased deposits of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques, the two pathological hallmarks of AD.

Using aged SAMP8 mice treated with antisense oligonucleotide (AO) directed at GSK-3β and random AO, the data presented here demonstrate decreased oxidative stress and increased Nrf2 transcriptional activity and Pin 1 levels as a result of the down-regulation of GSK-3β. Collectively, these results implicate GSK-3β activity in the increased oxidative stress of AD and support its inhibition as a possible therapeutic treatment for the disease. Further, we elucidate a possible mechanism connecting GSK-3β to the loss of tolerance to an oxidative environment and increased deposits of NFTs and Aβ plaques observed in AD.

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