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Intracellular Consequences of Amyloid in Alzheimer's Disease

Intracellular Consequences of Amyloid in Alzheimer's Disease

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Intracellular Consequences of Amyloid in Alzheimer's Disease

413 pages
Feb 21, 2016


Consequences of Intracellular Amyloid in Alzheimer’s Disease addresses one of the more currently unresolved aspects confounding Alzheimer’s research, the significance of intraneuronal amyloid. It seeks to explain some of the unresolved questions concerning intracellular amyloid and its origin, entry, and toxicity.

Following up on Dr. D’Andrea’s first book, Bursting Neurons and Fading Memories: An Alternative Hypothesis for the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease, this book further examines the Inside-Out or Bursting alternative hypothesis of how amyloid escapes the circulatory system to ultimately enter neurons, also examining whether there is a relationship between intracellular amyloid, amyloid plaques, and cognitive impairment. Through a comprehensive explanation of the currently relevant scientific research on intracellular amyloid compiled in this handy reference, readers will better understand the mechanisms that lead to neuron death.

  • Presents the latest research on the significance of intracellular amyloid as it relates to Alzheimer’s
  • Addresses crucial questions about intracellular amyloid, including how if forms and enters neurons, its toxicity, if it triggers cell death, and how amyloid plaques are formed
  • Examines the potential relationship between intracellular amyloid, plaques, and cognitive impairment in an effort to answer whether Alzheimer’s is initially a problem of amyloid, the neuron, or of the blood-brain barrier
  • Seeks to help researchers generate additional alternative therapeutic opportunities to cure Alzheimer’s
Feb 21, 2016

About the author

Dr. D’Andrea has a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology and an MS in Molecular Biology. He has authored over 100 scientific publications, including invited review papers on Alzheimer’s disease, and co-invented 11 patents. His technical expertise is in the areas of histopathology/neuropathology, immunohistochemistry, and image analysis. Since 1996, he was Team Leader and Principal Scientist of Target Validation Team at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development. There he discovered and validated novel targets, biomarkers, and compounds to treat cancer, inflammatory diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease, and accepted numerous awards for these endeavors. Currently, he is president and histopathologist at Slidomics, LLC. He has presented is Alzheimer’s research at the following sponsored international, national and regional meetings: Society of Neuroscience; International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders; The Alzheimer’s Imaging Consortium; and International Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease & Related Disorders. In addition, he spoke at various meetings at the Annual Biological Staining Commission, The National Disease Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania, and was invited to lead the AlzForum’s WebCast International discussion for the Alzheimer’s Disease Forum on the evidence that neuronal cell death in AD is due to an autoimmune mechanism. He was also invited to the Challenging Views Of Alzheimer’s Disease: Round II meeting to debate the inflammatory aspects of AD. In addition, he has reviewed international AD grants (Spain, Israel) and is on several scientific editorial boards. He was one of the first to publish the presence of intracellular A42 in normal and AD neurons in 1999, first to hypothesize that plaques originate from neuronal lysis, first to report the presence of various plaques types in the AD brain, and first to provide morphological evidence of apoptotic neuronal death through an autoimmune mechanism in AD, suggesting that AD is an autoimmune disease. Most recently, he published a book entitled “Bursting Neurons and Fading Memories: An Alternative Hypothesis of the Neuropathology of Alzheimer’s Disease”. Furthermore, Michael has animated the “Inside-Out” hypothesis that is available on YouTube. Currently, he continues to post discussions on the matter.

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Intracellular Consequences of Amyloid in Alzheimer's Disease - Michael R. D'Andrea


Chapter 1

Amyloid Basis of Alzheimer’s Disease


Before delving into the biological properties of amyloid, the focus of this chapter is to provide a brief background of the origin of amyloid and plaques as they relate to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Not only is it important to understand the historical association of amyloid and AD, but it is also informative to understand how amyloid is produced, processed, and detected in cells, which is the basis of the data presented in this book.


Alois Alzheimer; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid cascade hypothesis; Down syndrome; Emil Redlich; fixation; formic acid; Oskar Fischer; plaques


Historical Background of Amyloid and Plaques 1

Amyloid Generation and Processing 3

Aβ States 5

Detecting Intraneuronal Amyloid 7

APP/Aβ-Related Antibodies 9

Fixation and Pretreatment Factors 10

Summary 12

References 12

Historical Background of Amyloid and Plaques

Amyloid is a somewhat infamous insoluble, fibrous protein; infamous because amyloid deposits are responsible for tissue damage in a fair number of genetic and inflammatory diseases and disorders.¹ Of course in modern times, amyloid has become most commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD): as of November 2015, a Google search for amyloid and Alzheimer’s gets almost 11 million hits.

Before the relationship between amyloid and Alzheimer’s was discovered, there were accounts of the plaques in the brain that became associated with dementia. Early descriptions of nerve cell degeneration in senile dementia were described as nodules of glial sclerosis, or round heaps of nerve cell degeneration.² Subsequently in 1898, Emil Redlich named miliary sclerosis as plaques in two cases of senile dementia.³ He also described plaques of different sizes and forms like the smaller cotton-wool type suggesting they represented a modified glial cell.

Several years later in 1907, extracellular deposits (also known as senile or neuritic plaques) were described as miliary foci of dystrophic neuronal processes surrounding a special substance in the cortex by Alois Alzheimer in the autopsied brain of a 51-year-old patient, who presented a very unusual clinical picture with loss of short-term memory and odd behavioral symptoms.⁴–⁷ However, it would not be until the application of the Congo red stain that this special substance would be identified as amyloid creating an association between amyloid, dementia, and senile plaques.⁴,⁵ Using a silver staining method, Alzheimer also identified the presence of neurofibrillary deposits in sections of her autopsied brain tissues; these were subsequently determined to be composed of aggregates of the abnormally hyperphosphorylated tau protein.⁴,⁸

At the same time in 1907, Oskar Fischer provided the first illustrations of the neuritic plaques that captured many of the features reported today (Fig. 1.1).⁹ Fischer studied a total of 275 brains from cases of psychosis, neurosyphilis, and controls of various ages, with 110 being over 50 years old at the time of death. He observed plaques in 56 cases, all of whom were >50 years of age.³ Alzheimer and Fischer disagreed on the origin of tangles: Alzheimer believed tangles consisted of chemically modified neurofibrils, while Fischer thought that they represented fibril proliferation de novo, and that the material was unrelated to neurofibrils.³ However, the origin of the plaque remains a matter of debate (see Chapter 5).

Figure 1.1 Drawings of three neuritic plaques from the brains of patients with senile dementia. Compiled from the illustrations of Fischer’s 1907 paper. Note the abnormal, club-shaped neurites and the displacement of normal-looking fibrils in the space occupied by the plaques. Source: Used with permission from Brain 2009;132:1102–11.

Despite these discoveries of plaques in the demented brain, it took additional effort to recognize amyloid as the component of these deposits. Amyloid itself was first discovered over 150 years ago through an iodine-sulfuric acid test that demonstrated the transformation of plant material to starch.⁴,¹⁰ This starch-like material was for the first time, referred to as amyloid, from the Latin word for starch,

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