Amyloid beta protein enhances the survival of hippocampal neurons in vitro

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Science  17 Mar 1989:
Vol. 243, Issue 4897, pp. 1488-1490
DOI: 10.1126/science.2928783


The beta-amyloid protein is progressively deposited in Alzheimer's disease as vascular amyloid and as the amyloid cores of neuritic plaques. Contrary to its metabolically inert appearance, this peptide may have biological activity. To evaluate this possibility, a peptide ligand homologous to the first 28 residues of the beta-amyloid protein (beta 1-28) was tested in cultures of hippocampal pyramidal neurons for neurotrophic or neurotoxic effects. The beta 1-28 appeared to have neurotrophic activity because it enhanced neuronal survival under the culture conditions examined. This finding may help elucidate the sequence of events leading to plaque formation and neuronal damage in Alzheimer's disease.

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