Accumulating amounts of amyloid in the brain have been associated with the development of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Now a team of neuroscience and biochemistry researchers have made a novel discovery that illustrates for the first time the difference between amyloid buildup in brain blood vessels and amyloid buildup around brain neurons. Their findings, which may provide a new path to research on Alzheimer’s disease and its cause, was published in Nature Communications.

The researchers mapped out the structural signature of amyloid that accumulates in brain blood vessels and compared it to the known structure of amyloid that accumulates in plaque around brain neurons.

The team found that the subunits of the amyloid that accumulates in vessels line up uniquely and in alternating patterns, which presents in a near opposite pattern of amyloid buildup in plaque around neurons.

They hypothesize that the unique structure of this brain blood vessel amyloid could promote different pathological responses, i.e., inflammation, which likely contributes differently to cognitive impairment and dementia than neuron amyloid.

Paper: “Cerebral vascular amyloid seeds drive amyloid β-protein fibril assembly with a distinct anti-parallel structure”

Reprinted from materials provided by Stony Brook University.

December 5, 2016