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Neurobiol Aging. 1992 Sep-Oct;13(5):609-12.

Methodological variables in the assessment of beta amyloid neurotoxicity.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.


Cell culture systems for evaluating the biological effects of the beta-amyloid protein are potentially important tools in the study of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. In this report, methodological considerations in the assessment of beta-amyloid neurotoxicity are discussed. Chronic incubation of beta 1-40 in primary human cortical cultures results in progressive neuronal degeneration. The neurodegenerative process occurs in association with localized deposition of beta-amyloid on the neuronal soma ultimately resulting in the formation of compact beta-amyloid deposits. A beta 1-40 preparation from another laboratory was tested that did not form neuronal beta-amyloid deposits and was not neurotoxic. Thus, the conformational state of the beta 1-40 peptide leading to the formation of neuronal amyloid deposits is an important determinant of neurotoxicity. Variables in peptide preparation that influence this property may account for variation in neurotoxic potency.

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