Tau Protein Leads To Neuronal Death in Alzheimer’s

Tau Protein Leads To Neuronal Death in Alzheimer’s
Tau proteinIn a study published in the online issue of Molecular Neurodegeneration journal, a team of researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC), in collaboration with researchers at the Capital Medical University in Beijing, China and funded by Merck Research Laboratories, shows that Tau protein is the key triggering event to neuronal death in Alzheimer's disease patients. Alzheimer's disease is characterized by both deposit of an extracellular protein, beta-amyloid (or Abeta), which leads to the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, and by abnormal function of the Tau protein. However, the prevailing theory for Alzheimer's disease cause has been that beta-amyloid plaques lead to neural death. This protein is abundant in neural cells and is essential to stabilize axonal microtubules. Now, this new study suggests that neuronal death is caused by Tau protein malfunction. Charbel E-H Moussa, MB, PhD, assistant professor of neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center and the study's lead author, noted, "When tau is abnormal, these proteins, which include Abeta, accumulate inside the neurons. The cells start to spit the proteins out, as best they can, into the extracellular space so that they cannot exert their toxic effects inside the cell. Because Abeta is 'sticky,' it clumps together into plaque." The authors propose that Tau
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