DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Neuroglia (microglia) cell destroying beta amyloid deposits by phagocytosis (central nervous system), coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM). Beta-amyloid comes from a larger protein found in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells. It is chemically a sticky protein that gradually builds up into plaques. It is involved in Alzheimer's disease as the main component of the amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer patients. The most damaging form of beta-amyloid may be groups of a few pieces rather than the plaques themselves. The small clumps may block cell-to-cell signalling at synapses. They may also activate immune system cells that trigger inflammation and devour disabled cells. Magnification: x5,180 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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