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Two proteins that play a role Alzheimer’s disease have now been shown to act as prions, misfolded proteins that spread by infecting other normal proteins to adopt the same misfolded shape.
In this study, specific self-propagating prion forms of the proteins amyloid beta and tau were detected in postmortem brain tissue of 75 Alzheimer’s patients. Higher levels of these prions in human brain samples were also associated with early-onset forms of Alzheimer’s disease and younger age at death.
The study was published in Science Translational Medicine. This UCSF press release does a great job at summarizing the study.