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J Neurochem. 2007 Jun;101(5):1172-84. Epub 2007 Feb 5.

A beta oligomers - a decade of discovery.

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Laboratory for Neurodegenerative Research, The Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.


Converging lines of evidence suggest that progressive accumulation of the amyloid beta-protein (A beta) plays a central role in the genesis of Alzheimer's disease, but it was long assumed that A beta had to be assembled into extracellular amyloid fibrils to exert its cytotoxic effects. Over the past decade, data have emerged from the use of synthetic A beta peptides, cell culture models, beta-amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice and human brain to suggest that pre-fibrillar, diffusible assemblies of A beta are also deleterious. Although the precise molecular identity of these soluble toxins remains unsettled, accumulating evidence suggests that soluble forms of A beta are indeed the proximate effectors of synapse loss and neuronal injury. Here we review recent progress in understanding the role of soluble oligomers in Alzheimer's disease.

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