Advanced Imaging Captures Protein Clumps in Neurons at Early Alzheimer Stages

Advanced Imaging Captures Protein Clumps in Neurons at Early Alzheimer Stages
Scientists used a new imaging technique to assess the structure of amyloid-beta aggregates — known culprits in Alzheimer's development — that are present inside nerve cells at early stages of the disease, a study reports. These findings, from a mouse model, may be important to understanding the different stages of Alzheimer's progression. The study, “Super‐Resolution Infrared Imaging of Polymorphic Amyloid Aggregates Directly in Neurons,” was published in the journal Advanced Science. During the development of Alzheimer's, a protein called amyloid-beta clumps and forms aggregates inside nerve cells (neurons). Over time, these aggregates become plaques that accumulate between nerve cells and disrupt their communication. These amyloid-beta plaques are toxic to nerve cells, and as the disease progresses, they cause nerve cells to die. However, these plaques only become visible in brain tissue when the disease is already in an advanced stage.  Researchers previously used a mouse model of Alzheimer's to show that the structure of beta-amyloid-beta itself was altered early in the disease, before the formation of amyloid-beta plaques. It is not yet fully understood what happens inside nerve cells before amyloid-beta plaques appear, and why they cause nerve cells to die. "This is a question that researchers have long struggled to find answers to. We have not had enough imaging techniques to study the structural changes in nerve cells," Oxana Klementieva, the study's lead author and group leader for medical microscopy at Lund University, in Sweden, said in a press release. New techniques are "required to detect very early changes, and therefore potentially understand the triggers," Klementieva added. Until now, techniques used to study am
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