Until very recently, Aβ accumulation and aggregation were thought to be exclusively extracellular phenomena. However, a number of abstracts presented at this meeting (see 120.10 and 720.10) suggest that this notion must be revisited. Gunnar Gouras (319.5) presented beautiful immunostaining of human brain demonstrating the presence of intraneuronal Aβ. This material did not bind Congo red and did not require formic acid for extraction and was visible in young Down's syndrome brain and in brains from non-demented elderly. Moreover, he also showed very nice images of plaques that bore a remarkably morphological similarity to pyramidal neurons (some of which were found to contain neuronal mRNA) suggesting that some neurons may die as a result of intraneuronal Aβ accumulation and subsequently give rise to extracellular plaques.
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