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Acta Neuropathol. 2014 Oct;128(4):477-84. doi: 10.1007/s00401-014-1339-2. Epub 2014 Sep 6.

Aβ seeds resist inactivation by formaldehyde.

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German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), 72076, Tübingen, Germany.


Cerebral β-amyloidosis can be exogenously induced by the intracerebral injection of brain extracts containing aggregated β-amyloid (Aβ) into young, pre-depositing Aβ precursor protein- (APP) transgenic mice. Previous work has shown that the induction involves a prion-like seeding mechanism in which the seeding agent is aggregated Aβ itself. Here we report that the β-amyloid-inducing activity of Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain tissue or aged APP-transgenic mouse brain tissue is preserved, albeit with reduced efficacy, after formaldehyde fixation. Moreover, spectral analysis with amyloid conformation-sensitive luminescent conjugated oligothiophene dyes reveals that the strain-like properties of aggregated Aβ are maintained in fixed tissues. The resistance of Aβ seeds to inactivation and structural modification by formaldehyde underscores their remarkable durability, which in turn may contribute to their persistence and spread within the body. The present findings can be exploited to establish the relationship between the molecular structure of Aβ aggregates and the variable clinical features and disease progression of AD even in archived, formalin-fixed autopsy material.

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