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Arch Physiol Biochem. 2007 Jun;113(3):131-41.

Effects of Alzheimer's amyloid-beta and tau protein on mitochondrial function -- role of glucose metabolism and insulin signalling.

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Neurobiology Laboratory, Psychiatric University Clinics Basel, Basel, Switzerland.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most frequent form of dementia among the elderly and is characterized by neuropathological hallmarks of extracellular amyloid-beta (Abeta) plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles composed of abnormally hyperphosphorylated microtubular protein tau in the brains of AD patients. Of note, current data illustrate a complex interplay between the amyloid and tau pathology during the course of the disease. We hypothesize a direct impact of abnormally phosphorylated tau and Abeta on proteins/enzymes involved in metabolism, respiratory chain function and cellular detoxification. Probably at the level of mitochondria, both Alzheimer proteins exhibit synergistic effects finally leading to/accelerating neurodegenerative mechanisms. Moreover, accumulating evidence that mitochondria failure, reduced glucose utilization and deficient energy metabolism occur already very early in the course of the disease suggests a role of impaired insulin signalling in the pathogenesis of AD. Thus, this review addresses also the question if mitochondrial dysfunction may represent a link between diabetes and AD.

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