Selenate and Reduction of Neurofibrillary Tangle Formation: Role of Selenoproteins
Alzheimer’s disease is a mentally debilitating and ultimately fatal disease with no cure and few treatment options. Our study will investigate a new potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease that is currently in clinical trials. Recent research demonstrated that the trace element selenium in the form of selenate can reverse symptoms in Alzheimer’s models. However, the mode of action is not understood. We are researching how selenate can increase the function of selenoproteins, a unique family of proteins utilizing selenium in the form of selenocysteine, the 21st amino acid. Selenoproteins are important for antioxidant defense, hormonal regulation, removal of misfolded proteins and several other important cellular processes. Elevating selenoproteins through increased dietary selenium could potentially benefit low-income members of certain minority groups shown to have lower selenium levels. This study will provide a clearer picture of the health benefits and mechanisms of action of sodium selenate, a promising new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.