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Many results from in vitro and animal studies have highlighted the important role played by specific metals, such as copper, iron and zinc, in the diverse toxic pathways on which Alzheimer's disease (AD) develops. Metals seem to mediate the aggregation and neurotoxicity of amyloid-beta (ABeta), the main constituent of the amyloid plaques, commonly seen in AD (1). The link between metals and AD has been mostly investigated with a focus on their local accumulation in defined areas of the brain critical for AD. In the present review, I have instead approached the issue from the different perspective of a systemic, rather than local, alteration of copper and iron status. This view is supported by the results of a series of in vivo studies demonstrating that abnormalities of metals homeostasis correlate with the main deficits and specific markers of AD, such as ABeta and Tau proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid. These findings clearly suggest that local metals accumulation in brain areas critical for AD should be viewed within a wider framework of metals systemic alteration.
Department of Neuroscience, AFaR, Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Rome, Italy, Department of Neurology, Campus Biomedico, University, Rome, Italy.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Frontiers in bioscience : a journal and virtual library
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Abnormal structures located in various parts of the brain and composed of dense arrays of paired helical filaments (neurofilaments and microtubules). These double helical stacks of transverse subunits are twisted into left-handed ribbon-like filaments that likely incorporate the following proteins: (1) the intermediate filaments: medium- and high-molecular-weight neurofilaments; (2) the microtubule-associated proteins map-2 and tau; (3) actin; and (4) UBIQUITINS. As one of the hallmarks of ALZHEIMER DISEASE, the neurofibrillary tangles eventually occupy the whole of the cytoplasm in certain classes of cell in the neocortex, hippocampus, brain stem, and diencephalon. The number of these tangles, as seen in post mortem histology, correlates with the degree of dementia during life. Some studies suggest that tangle antigens leak into the systemic circulation both in the course of normal aging and in cases of Alzheimer disease.
Abnormal structures located chiefly in distal dendrites and, along with NEUROFIBRILLARY TANGLES and SENILE PLAQUES, constitute the three morphological hallmarks of ALZHEIMER DISEASE. Neuropil threads are made up of straight and paired helical filaments which consist of abnormally phosphorylated microtubule-associated tau proteins. It has been suggested that the threads have a major role in the cognitive impairment seen in Alzheimer disease.
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A progressive form of dementia characterized by the global loss of language abilities and initial preservation of other cognitive functions. Fluent and nonfluent subtypes have been described. Eventually a pattern of global cognitive dysfunction, similar to ALZHEIMER DISEASE, emerges. Pathologically, there are no Alzheimer or PICK DISEASE like changes, however, spongiform changes of cortical layers II and III are present in the TEMPORAL LOBE and FRONTAL LOBE. (From Brain 1998 Jan;121(Pt 1):115-26)
The science, art, or technology dealing with processes involved in the separation of metals from their ores, the technique of making or compounding the alloys, the techniques of working or heat-treating metals, and the mining of metals. It includes industrial metallurgy as well as metallurgical techniques employed in the preparation and working of metals used in dentistry, with special reference to orthodontic and prosthodontic appliances. (From Jablonski, Dictionary of Dentistry, 1992, p494)