The Role of Amyloids in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases

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Amyloid Fibrils, Amyloid Oligomers, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, α-synuclein

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With varying clinical symptoms, most neurodegenerative diseases are associated with abnormal loss of neurons. They share the same common pathogenic mechanisms involving misfolding and aggregation, and these visible aggregates of proteins are deposited in the central nervous system. Amyloid formation is thought to arise from partial unfolding of misfolded proteins leading to the exposure of hydrophobic surfaces, which interact with other similar structures and give rise to form dimers, oligomers, protofibrils, and eventually mature fibril aggregates. Accumulating evidence indicates that amyloid oligomers, not amyloid fibrils, are the most toxic species that causes Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). AD has recently been recognized as the ‘twenty-first century plague’, with an incident rate of 1% at 60 years of age, which then doubles every fifth year. Currently, 5.3 million people in the US are afflicted with this disease, and the number of cases is expected to rise to 13.5 million by 2050. PD, a disorder of the brain, is the second most common form of dementia, characterized by difficulty in walking and movement. Keeping the above views in mind, in this review we have focused on the roles of amyloid in neurodegenerative diseases including AD and PD, the involvement of amyloid in mitochondrial dysfunction leading to neurodegeneration, are also considered in the review.

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International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, v. 190, issue 1, p. 44-55