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Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease

C012/6242

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Credit

CAROL & MIKE WERNER / VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CAROL & MIKE WERNER / VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Biomedical illustration of Alzheimer's disease. The enzyme gamma secretase snips the amyloid precursor protein to produce beta amyloid. Oligomers formed of beta amyloid are thought to play a key role in the development of Alzheimer's disease. Oligomers attach themselves to dendrites at synapses, thus interfering with the activity of neurotransmitters. Oligomers are also a major constituent of the sticky plaque which adheres to the surfaces of neurons. Plaque was originally seen as a major cause of of nerve damage although some researchers now believe it to be a protective reaction to confine beta amyloid and prevent further damage. Excessive plaque buildup may still be damaging, however. A cross-ection of a nerve cell (lower right) illustrates clumps of.

Release details

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