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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2006 Nov;113(11):1645-58. Epub 2006 Oct 23.

Alois Alzheimer revisited: differences in origin of the disease carrying his name.

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Clinic for Psychiatry, University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


Based on the means of his time, Alois Alzheimer supposed that the disease, later carrying his name, is a disease of older age, and that the pathomorphological structures he described are due to disturbances in brain metabolism. In this contribution, it is discussed which cellular metabolic abnormalities may be representative for age-related sporadic Alzheimer disease (SAD) the predominant form of SAD in contrast to the very rare hereditary early-onset form. In focus are disturbances in glucose/energy metabolism which involve the deficits in acetylcholine, cholesterol and UDP-N-acetylglucosamine beside ATP. Another leading abnormality is the defect in cell membrane composition. The interrelation between abnormal glucose/energy metabolism and membrane defect may be assumed to form the basis for the induction of both the perturbed metabolism of the amyloid precursor protein leading to increased formation of beta-amyloid and hyperphosphorylation of tau-protein destroying cell structures. Alois Alzheimer may have been so prescient to assume most of this 100 years ago.

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