The cell's ability to breakdown and recycle its malfunctioning parts--a process known as #autophagy--helps control the formation of #amyloidbeta plaques in #Alzheimers disease. New research published in Cell Reports shows that cells lacking the ability to perform autophagy don't secrete amyloid beta. Scientists at #RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan deleted a gene in mice that was crucial to autophagy. Without that gene, the mice had almost a complete lack of amyloid beta plaques outside of their neurons (pictured, right. The left side of the picture are control cells). Instead, the amyloid beta accumulated inside of the neurons and killed them. Although researchers are beginning to believe that autophagy is a good potential drug target for Alzheimer's they still aren't sure exactly how this process contributes to disease.
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Journal article: Ab Secretion and Plaque Formation Depend on Autophagy. Cell Reports (2013) DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.