LONDON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- U.K. scientists say they've isolated proteins involved in more than 130 brain diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, suggesting possible new treatment paths.
The proteins are contained in the brain's synapses, the interconnection between brain cells, and bind together in molecular combinations called the postsynaptic density, or PSD.
A team of scientists, led by Professor Seth Grant at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Edinburgh University, found that 1,461 proteins, each one encoded by a different gene, are found in human synapses, making it possible to identify diseases that particularly affect their functioning, the BBC reported Monday.
"We found that over 130 brain diseases involve the PSD -- far more than expected," Grant said. "These diseases include common debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders as well as epilepsy and childhood developmental diseases including forms of autism and learning disability."
"Our findings have shown that the human PSD is at center stage of a large range of human diseases affecting many millions of people," he said.
"Since many different diseases involve the same set of proteins we might be able to develop new treatments that could be used on many diseases," Grant said.
The researchers have created a "roadmap" of the molecular organization of human synapses, which shows how the many proteins and diseases are interconnected.
"We also can see ways to develop new genetic diagnostic tests and ways to help doctors classify the brain diseases," Grant said.