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Non-infectious Prion Protein Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Sun, 04/18/2010 - 9:21pm
Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog

‘Harmless’ prion protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease

Non-infectious prion proteins found in the brain may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have found.

normal prion proteins produced naturally in the brain interact with the amyloid-? peptides that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Blocking this interaction in preparations made from mouse brains halted some neurological defects caused by the accumulation of amyloid-? peptide. It was previously thought that only infectious prion proteins, rather than their normal, non-infectious counterparts, played a role in brain degeneration.

Alzheimer’s disease has long been linked to the build-up of amyloid-? peptides, first into relatively short chains known as oligomers, and then eventually into the long, sticky fibrils that form plaques in the brain. The oligomeric form of the peptide is thought to be toxic, but exactly how it acts in the brain is unknown.

Related: Soil Mineral Degrades the Nearly Indestructible PrionPrion Proteins, Without Genes, Can EvolveClues to Prion Infectivity

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