Soluble pool of Aβ amyloid as a determinant of severity of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease

Catriona A. McLean, Robert A. Cherny, Fiona W. Fraser, Stephanie J. Fuller, Margaret J. Smith, Konrad Beyreuther, Ashley I. Bush, Colin Masters

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1605 Citations (Scopus)


Genetic evidence strongly supports the view that Aβ amyloid production is central to the cause of Alzheimer's disease. The kinetics, compartmentation, and form of Aβ and its temporal relation to the neurodegenerative process remain uncertain. The levels of soluble and insoluble Aβ were determined by using western blot techniques, and the findings were assessed in relation to indices of severity of disease. The mean level of soluble Aβ is increased threefold in Alzheimer's disease and correlates highly with markers of disease severity. In contrast, the level of insoluble Aβ (also a measure of total amyloid load) is found only to discriminate Alzheimer's disease from controls, and does not correlate with disease severity or numbers of amyloid plaques. These findings support the concept of several interacting pools of Aβ, that is, a large relatively static insoluble pool that is derived from a constantly turning over smaller soluble pool. The latter may exist in both intracellular and extracellular compartments, and contain the basic forms of Aβ that cause neurodegeneration. Reducing the levels of these soluble Aβ species by threefold to levels found in normal controls might prove to be a goal of future therapeutic intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)860-866
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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