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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Aug 30;91(18):8368-72.

Transthyretin sequesters amyloid beta protein and prevents amyloid formation.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook 11794.


The cardinal pathological features of Alzheimer disease are depositions of aggregated amyloid beta protein (A beta) in the brain and cerebrovasculature. However, the A beta is found in a soluble form in cerebrospinal fluid in healthy individuals and patients with Alzheimer disease. We postulate that sequestration of A beta precludes amyloid formation. Failure to sequester A beta in Alzheimer disease may result in amyloidosis. When we added A beta to cerebrospinal fluid of patients and controls it was rapidly sequestered into stable complexes with transthyretin. Complexes with apolipoprotein E, which has been shown to bind A beta in vitro, were not observed in cerebrospinal fluid. Additional in vitro studies showed that both purified transthyretin and apolipoprotein E prevent amyloid formation.

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