News of Note—The role of glucose in Alzheimer’s; TB’s escape mechanism; birth control for men

Amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease
The amyloid plaques and tangles that form in the brains of Alzheimer's patients may be related to abnormal glucose processing.

Glucose metabolism linked to Alzheimer’s

The amyloid tangles and plaques that mark the signature of Alzheimer’s disease may be directly linked to abnormalities in how the brain breaks down glucose. That’s the conclusion of a new study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia. The NIH researchers examined brain tissue from deceased participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, measuring glucose levels in regions of the brain that are vulnerable to the disease and those that are not. People with higher glucose levels had more severe plaques and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, they discovered. They believe glucose metabolism should be pursued as a possible target for treating the disease. (Release)

Scientists ID proteins that allow TB to escape destruction

Two key proteins work in tandem to allow mycobacterium tuberculosis to survive inside cells that would normally be equipped to destroy the TB-causing bug, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Polish Academy of Sciences discovered. Deleting the proteins, called Ligase D (LigD) and Ligase C (LigC), lowered survival rates of the TB bacteria by reducing their ability to repair their DNA. The research, which could aid in the design of new antibiotics to treat TB, was published in the journal Nature Communications. (Release)

Developing a birth-control pill for men

Vibliome Therapeutics has nabbed a $500,000 grant from the nonprofit Male Contraception Initiative to develop a drug that selectively inhibits a protein that plays a role in male fertility. Mice that lack the gene that makes the protein, called homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 4 (HIPK4), have an impaired ability to make sperm but are otherwise normal, researchers at Stanford discovered. The company believes those findings could be used to make a nonhormonal, reversible male contraceptive. (Release)