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Chemical engineers help decipher mystery of neurofibrillary tangle formation in Alzheimer's brains
Date:11/1/2011

cause disease."

When tau proteins interact with the lipid membrane, they can damage the structure of the membrane, "which can possibly make the membranes 'leaky' and cause neurons to die," Chi explains. "There has been much uncertainty about what causes neurodegeneration in these diseases, but now the field is converging on the idea that neuronal death in Alzheimer's disease is caused by the proteins acquiring toxicity as they aggregate."

The researchers suggests that compounds that prevent the proteins from interacting with the lipid membrane or protect the membrane from being disrupted could offer hope to Alzheimer's patients. "We are currently looking at how naturally occurring flavonoids [antioxidants found in plants] can protect the cells from protein aggregate-induced toxicity and have found that they reduce protein interaction with membranes," Chi says.


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Contact: Catherine Meyers
cmeyers@aip.org
301-209-3088
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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