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Nature. 2002 Jul 18;418(6895):291.

Neurodegenerative disease: amyloid pores from pathogenic mutations.

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Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, 65 Landsdowne Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases are associated with the formation in the brain of amyloid fibrils from beta-amyloid and alpha-synuclein proteins, respectively. It is likely that oligomeric fibrillization intermediates (protofibrils), rather than the fibrils themselves, are pathogenic, but the mechanism by which they cause neuronal death remains a mystery. We show here that mutant amyloid proteins associated with familial Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases form morphologically indistinguishable annular protofibrils that resemble a class of pore-forming bacterial toxins, suggesting that inappropriate membrane permeabilization might be the cause of cell dysfunction and even cell death in amyloid diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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