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The World in Medicine
March 12, 2003

Mosquitoes and Malaria

JAMA. 2003;289(10):1234. doi:10.1001/jama.289.10.1234-a

Scientists who study Alzheimer disease have long debated whether the cascade of pathological events that leads to neurodegeneration is triggered by the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide when it is first produced in diseased neurons or by the accumulation of amyloid plaques outside the cells. A study by an international team of researchers from Switzerland, Belgium, and the United States now gives support to those who favor amyloid deposits as a key factor in disease progression.

In the study, the researchers used transgenic mice that express a mutated version amyloid precursor protein (the forerunner to Aβ) to study the formation of plaques. They found that plaques formed within normal murine brain tissue grafted into the brains of the mutant mice, and that the grafted tissue also displayed other signs of amyloid pathology and neurodegeneration.