Wold awarded NIH/NIA grant for Alzheimer’s Disease study

Loren Wold, PhD, FAHA, FCVS, associate professor and director of biomedical research at The Ohio State University College of Nursing has been awarded a $3.89 million grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging (NIH/NIA) for his study entitled “Mechanisms of exposure-induced tissue functional and pathological changes in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease.” This study will be performed in collaboration with Drs. Colin Combs (University of North Dakota) and Federica del Monte (Medical University of South Carolina).


Citing statistics from the World Health Organization, the study states that exposure to ambient pollution is responsible for more than 13 million deaths annually, and has been associated with cardiovascular morbidity, mortality and poorer cognitive function in the aging population. “Alzheimer dementia and heart failure are a growing plague worldwide, [and] the recognition of their combinatory triggers and potential coexistence is an alarming prospective.” The study proposes to explore the role and mechanisms by which air pollution induces the development and progression of brain and heart diseases, both of which are worsened by exposures.


“Our overall goal is to determine the time course of plaque formation in the brains and hearts of animals with Alzheimer’s, in order to potentially define a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease,” Wold stated.  “Recent discoveries by collaborator Dr. del Monte at Harvard Medical School (now at the Medical University of South Carolina) determined that beta-amyloid plaques, the plaques known to cause neurocognitive effects in [the hearts of] patients with Alzheimer’s disease, are also present in the brain of these patients. We are now poised to determine whether the plaques form in the heart prior to the brain.” If so, Wold and his associates hope to find a way to prevent the neurological issues associated with Alzheimer’s disease by quenching the protein aggregates in the heart before they spread to the brain.


Wold has also been funded by the NIH for his work focused on external triggers of cardiovascular disease, with special emphasis on the role of cancer cachexia and air pollution, investigating how the cardiovascular system is affected by these stressors.


At The Ohio State University, Wold is involved in training undergraduates, graduate students, medical students and postdoctoral fellows in basic lab techniques, as well as tools for effective manuscript and grant writing.  He also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier journal Life Sciences.