New Research Challenges Current Beliefs on How Nerve Cells Die in Alzheimer’s Disease

New Research Challenges Current Beliefs on How Nerve Cells Die in Alzheimer’s Disease
The buildup of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain is not sufficient on its own to cause the death of neurons in Alzheimer’s disease, suggests a new study that challenges current views on how the disease progresses. Researchers have widely believed that beta-amyloid drives nerve cell death in Alzheimer's, but these results open up the possibility that other mechanisms could contribute to disease progression. The study, “The Impact of APP on Alzheimer-like Pathogenesis and Gene Expression in Down Syndrome iPSC-Derived Neurons,” was published in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's, occurs when a protein called the amyloid precursor protein (APP) is broken down, and its fragments, called beta-amyloid, clump together. University of Queensland researchers used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) — adult cells capable of generating almost any cell in the body — from people with Down syndrome to better understand the role APP and amyloid plaques play in the death of nerve cells. Those with Down syndrome, a condition in which a person is born with extra genetic material from chromosome 21, have a significantly increased risk of developing early-onset Alzheimer disease (before age 65). According to the Down Syndrome Society<
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