Combs awarded $1,420,768 NIH Grant
Colin Combs, Ph.D, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Biomedical Sciences Department at UND's School of Medicine & Health Sciences, has been awarded a 4-year, $1,420,768 grant from the National Intitutes of Health. The title of the award is "Communicating Intestinal Inflammation to the Brain in Alzheimer's Disease."
The project focuses on improving understanding of how the brain communicates with the gastrointestinal tract via the well-established gut-brain axis. The study proposes to characterize a novel intestinal aspect of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) identified using transgenic mouse models as well as human disease samples. The goal is to define this intestine-based component of disease and assess whether age or chronic inflammatory bowel disease further impairs intestinal function to increase gut leakiness and inflammation which can communicate to the brain to influence the rate of progression or severity of Alzheimer’s disease. Completion of the study will verify a critical role of gut inflammation in disease progression and validate a clinically available therapeutic option as a treatment targeting the gut-brain axis. This suggests that select immunomodulatory agents can be repositioned to combat the inflammatory component of AD without the need for crossing the blood brain barrier.