Specks in the brain attract Alzheimer’s plaque-forming protein | Science News

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Specks in the brain attract Alzheimer’s plaque-forming protein

Results in mice suggest a possible approach for stopping amyloid-beta accumulation

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1:30pm, December 20, 2017
Clumps of A-beta

GANGING UP  The Alzheimer’s protein amyloid-beta can form clumps around specks of an inflammatory protein in between brain cells, research on mice suggests.

Globs of an inflammation protein beckon an Alzheimer’s protein and cause it to accumulate in the brain, a study in mice finds. The results, described in the Dec. 21/28 Nature, add new details to the relationship between brain inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers suspect that this inflammatory cycle is an early step in the disease, which raises the prospect of being able to prevent the buildup of amyloid-beta, the sticky protein found in brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

“It is a provocative paper,” says immunologist Marco Colonna of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Finding an inflammatory protein that can prompt A-beta to clump around it is “a big deal,” he says.

Researchers led by Michael Heneka of the University of Bonn in Germany started by studying specks made of a protein called ASC that’s

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