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The research interests of Seiko Ikezu, M.D., include exploring therapeutic interventions to delay tau pathology development during the early stage of Alzheimer's disease. One of these therapeutic targets is tau-tubulin kinase 1 (TTBK1). This central nervous system-specific tau kinase enhances tau phosphorylation in the entorhinal cortex where early tau pathology evolves. Another target is microglial tumor susceptibility gene 101, the key molecule for extracellular vesicle synthesis, which may facilitate propagation of aggregated tau protein in aging brains.
Another scope of Dr. Ikezu's research is investigating microglial involvement in the pathogenesis of autistic spectrum disorders. Her recent study involved rejuvenating microglia, innate immune cells in the central nervous system, using a colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor inhibitor. Results from this study suggest this process may have a therapeutic effect on autistic-like behaviors observed with a maternal immune activation mouse model.
Dr. Ikezu's research can help the development of future for Alzheimer's disease or autistic spectrum disorders by uniquely focusing on central nervous system-specific tau kinase or microglia.
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