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Med Hypotheses. 2001 Mar;56(3):388-91.

beta-amyloid: friend or foe.

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  • 1Department of Community & Environmental Medicine, University of California, CA, USA.


The function of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and its product, beta-amyloid, (Abeta) is at present unknown. The deposition of Abeta in senile plaques as well as meningeal and cerebral vessels has led many researchers to discount the possibility of a beneficial protective function for the protein. Thus it is generally believed that the aberrant processing of APP leads to increased beta-amyloid secretion that in turn leads to subsequent plaque formation and Alzheimer's disease. Here, a hypothesis is presented that the protein may indeed be protective and that a potential role for beta amyloid in innate immunity may exist.

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