Saturday, August 7, 2010

Alzheimer's Disease and Abeta Protein

Amyloid beta (Abeta) that accumulates in Alzheimer's disease (AD) plaques resembles LL-37 , a peptide with anti-microbial properties, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School. Abeta has been suggested to be the "brain's protector" against infections, but also appears to be ramped up after traumatic brain injury or stroke in addition to chronic low-grade infections. Interestingly, Abeta is toxic to brain cells. But it is cleared quickly once produced . With too great a response or too many brain insults, Abeta may turns against the body. This suggests a new way of thinking about the pathology of AD in that it may be viewed as an auto-immune disease. Too little Abeta in our brains may lead to increased risk of infections ...too great an accumulation of Abeta carries with it an increased risk of AD. Soscia,SJ Kirby,JE Moir,RD PLoS One 2010 Mar 3;5(3):e9505