Recent questions as to the role of amyloid plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease are addressed in Nature. The widely accepted hypothesis is that neural abnormalities in patients are the result of the gradual accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain over decades, but some researchers believe that the defects come first and the plaque formation later.
Bradley Hyman and colleagues use imaging to follow plaque formation in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease and find that they form very quickly, within 24 hours. A day or two later the microglia move in and neuritic changes are seen. The data suggest that neuritic dysfunction follows, rather than precedes, amyloid deposition.
Bradley Hyman (Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
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