Cells affected in Alzheimer's disease

Professor Dennis Selkoe concludes that neurons are not the only type of cell affected in Alzheimer's disease.

One would think that neurons are the sole target cell in the Alzheimer’s [disease] patient’s brain, but any number of other cells are also affected, so let me just tick them off. The astrocyte, which is a very important so-called support cell, although that’s perhaps a pejorative term, it actually is more important than just supporting. The astrocyte is profoundly affected in Alzheimer’s [disease] patients. It becomes overactive, it proliferates and it sometimes tries to wall off these amyloid plaques as if it’s trying to protect [itself] from them. The microglial cell is an inflammatory cell that derives originally from the blood stream, and it also is affected by a-beta [amyloid beta] itself and by other processes in the Alzheimer's [disease] brain. The blood vessel cells and ephilial cells and smooth muscle cells are impacted by the a-beta story. So, this is an indiscriminate attack on brain cells of various types, although at the end of the day we like to focus on neurons because we believe that to encode memory neurons are critical, and we know that already from lots of great neuroscience, and so in Alzheimer’s [disease] it’s not an exception. The neurons in the hippocampus and other parts of the brain are very important in responding to a-beta and not allowing people to remember.

alzheimer, amyloid, plaques, glial, astrocyte, blood, stream, ephilial, cells, dennis, selkoe

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