Current Research

Vitamin A Transport at the Blood Brain Barrier in Alzheimer’s Disease

I am investigating the mechanism by which Vitamin A crosses the Blood Brain Barrier. I will then determine if the presence of amyloid beta (principal protein of interest in Alzheimer’s disease) alters the kinetics of the transport process, and if so, to what degree. I will also develop a mechanistic theory to support the data collected. There is evidence in the literature that Vitamin A levels are affected in Alzheimer’s disease, but the reason is unknown. I propose that Vitamin A, which is carried in the body by Retinol Binding Protein IV (RBP), is prevented from wild type transport by the presence of amyloid beta, which is known to interact with transthyretin, a protein whose function is to carry RBP (and therefore Vitamin A) and thyroid hormones. I am currently expressing and purifying recombinant wild type RBP to use in an induced pluripotent stem cell Blood Brain Barrier Model developed by others in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department. Transthyretin has already been successfully produced, purified and characterized by our lab.