Alzheimer's amyloid-beta (A beta) is an essential synaptic protein, not neurotoxic junk
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Despite a decade long universal publication in favor of the view on amyloid-beta (A beta ) as Alzheimer's disease culprit (solely neurotoxic for neurons and brain tissue), current scientific evidence leaves little doubt that A? serves an essential role at synapse and in synaptic structure-functional plasticity that underlie learning and memory. Therefore, the change of A beta biology in Alzheimer's disease (as well as in a number of other human pathologies, including cardiovascular disease, neuromuscular junction disorders, NPC and Down's syndrome) may represent a physiological mechanism to compensate for impaired brain structure or function. In our own recent study A beta1-40 rescued long term potentiation (LTP, a major model for activity-dependent CNS plasticity), while cholesterol synthesis inhibition abolished the restorative action of the A beta peptide. This study confirms that A beta protein is a functional player in synaptic structure-functional plasticity and in cholesterol neurochemical pathways. The article also calls for a need to critically re-evaluate a universal belief that transgenic mice with a transgene for amyloid-beta protein precursor (A betaPP) are a true model for Alzheimer's type neurodegeneration.
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A.R. Koudinov, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, Russia, c/o P.O. Box 1665, Rehovot 76100, Israel