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Alzheimer's And Acetylcholine Essay

962 words - 4 pages

Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease that takes the lives of many. There is someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s around the world every seventy-two seconds. It is a form of dementia that slowly takes away the most basic of memories all the way to the memories of children, weddings, and even the saddest ones such as family death. The people that Alzheimer’s affects have a hard time with remembering tiny details and the disease begins with taking away the function of short term memory. This happens because the levels of acetylcholine are known to drop up to ninety percent beginning in the entorhinal cortex and moving into the hippocampus. Because of this, of the first signs of Alzheimer’s is the ...view middle of the document...

When the levels of the protein beta-amyloid become abnormally high they start to develop as plaques. Beta-amyloid proteins naturally accumulate between the nerve cells. They are formed by proteolytic cleavage of Beta-Amyloid precursor protein (or APP). The APP is broken down abnormally by the enzyme beta-secretase-1 (or Bace1) and forms the Beta-Amyloid protein. It has a peculiar effect on the raising of production of free radicals and this results in neuronal cell death. The proteins clumping together form the amyloid plaques and these plaques lead to death and blockage of communication in the cells. In an unaffected brain the pieces are broken down and disintegrate naturally but in an affected brain, they cannot disintegrate and instead they keep building up more and more and end up forming hard plaques called beta-amyloid plaques.
Another protein that develops abnormally and causes loss of acetylcholine is the protein that causes neurofibrillary tangles. This is called a tau protein and is essential for the growth of axons and forms a portion of microtubules. The axon carries information from the cell body. It transfers messages from one neuron to another and the information can only travel from the axon, the axon cannot receive information from the neurons it is sending information to. The reason the tangles are so debilitating in Alzheimer's is because the tangles become “hyperphosphorylated”. Phosphorylation is the addition of a phosphate group to a protein. It turns many protein enzymes on and off which alters their function and activity. The tau protein normally goes through phosphorylation and dephosphorylation in a healthy nerve cell. It can form the tangles when hyperphosphorylation comes into play. Hyper is the prefix meaning excessive, ergo the production of the tau protein is overly done and the tangles form because of the excessive...

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