News Release 

Discovered a new therapeutic target for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease

The results of the study indicate that the levels of the protein SFRP1 are abnormally elevated in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid of Alzheimer's patients

Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)


IMAGE: This is an example of a human amyloid plaque positive for SFRP1 (red) and surrounded by microglial cells (green). view more 

Credit: Pilar Esteve

Experiments performed in mice, in which the main pathogenic markers of the disease have been evaluated, show that the progression of the disease is prevented when the function of this protein is inactivated.

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by a progressive and irreversible loss of cognitive abilities. "Treatment of the disease represents an unresolved challenge that needs alternative approaches to those currently on trial; there is need of new perspectives that take into account the complexity of the disease. Given its multifactorial origin, these new approaches should be designed against factors that act simultaneously in more than one of the pathological processes of the disease" explains Paola Bovolenta, CSIC researcher at the Molecular Biology Center 'Severo Ochoa' (Joint centre of the CSIC and the Autonomous University of Madrid).

This study identifies that the protein SFRP1 (Secreted Frizzled Related Protein 1) is one of those factors. SFRP1 acts in multiple processes and its elevated levels are pathogenic. "We believe that our results represent an innovation in the field of Alzheimer's disease. We demonstrate that the neutralization of SFRP1 could be a promising therapeutic alternative. This is something that we now need to explore in depth. We also believe that the measure of SFRP1 levels in the cerebrospinal fluid or in serum may represent a useful diagnostic marker in the future, "adds Pilar Esteve, co-responsible of the study and member of the Center for Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa '.


Pilar Esteve, Javier Rueda-Carrasco, María Inés Mateo, María Jesús Martin-Bermejo, Jonathan Draffin, Guadalupe Pereyra, África Sandonís, Inmaculada Crespo, Inmaculada Moreno, Ester Aso, Paula Garcia-Esparcia, Estrella Gomez-Tortosa, Alberto Rabano, Juan Fortea, Daniel Alcolea, Alberto Lleo, Michael T. Heneka, José M. Valpuesta, José A. Esteban, Isidro Ferrer, Mercedes Dominguez and Paola Bovolenta. Elevated levels of Secreted-Frizzled-Related- Protein 1 contribute to Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. Nature Neuroscience. DOI:

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.