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1.
Nat Genet ; 2020 Mar 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32203465

RESUMO

Brain metastases from lung adenocarcinoma (BM-LUAD) frequently cause patient mortality. To identify genomic alterations that promote brain metastases, we performed whole-exome sequencing of 73 BM-LUAD cases. Using case-control analyses, we discovered candidate drivers of brain metastasis by identifying genes with more frequent copy-number aberrations in BM-LUAD compared to 503 primary LUADs. We identified three regions with significantly higher amplification frequencies in BM-LUAD, including MYC (12 versus 6%), YAP1 (7 versus 0.8%) and MMP13 (10 versus 0.6%), and significantly more frequent deletions in CDKN2A/B (27 versus 13%). We confirmed that the amplification frequencies of MYC, YAP1 and MMP13 were elevated in an independent cohort of 105 patients with BM-LUAD. Functional assessment in patient-derived xenograft mouse models validated the notion that MYC, YAP1 or MMP13 overexpression increased the incidence of brain metastasis. These results demonstrate that somatic alterations contribute to brain metastases and that genomic sequencing of a sufficient number of metastatic tumors can reveal previously unknown metastatic drivers.

2.
Acta Neuropathol ; 2020 Feb 27.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32108259

RESUMO

Small subclinical hyperintense lesions are frequently encountered on brain diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) scans of patients with cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). Interpretation of these DWI+ lesions, however, has been limited by absence of histopathological examination. We aimed to determine whether DWI+ lesions represent acute microinfarcts on histopathology in brains with advanced CAA, using a combined in vivo MRI-ex vivo MRI-histopathology approach. We first investigated the histopathology of a punctate cortical DWI+ lesion observed on clinical in vivo MRI 7 days prior to death in a CAA case. Subsequently, we assessed the use of ex vivo DWI to identify similar punctate cortical lesions post-mortem. Intact formalin-fixed hemispheres of 12 consecutive cases with CAA and three non-CAA controls were subjected to high-resolution 3 T ex vivo DWI and T2 imaging. Small cortical lesions were classified as either DWI+/T2+ or DWI-/T2+. A representative subset of lesions from three CAA cases was selected for detailed histopathological examination. The DWI+ lesion observed on in vivo MRI could be matched to an area with evidence of recent ischemia on histopathology. Ex vivo MRI of the intact hemispheres revealed a total of 130 DWI+/T2+ lesions in 10/12 CAA cases, but none in controls (p = 0.022). DWI+/T2+ lesions examined histopathologically proved to be acute microinfarcts (classification accuracy 100%), characterized by presence of eosinophilic neurons on hematoxylin and eosin and absence of reactive astrocytes on glial fibrillary acidic protein-stained sections. In conclusion, we suggest that small DWI+ lesions in CAA represent acute microinfarcts. Furthermore, our findings support the use of ex vivo DWI as a method to detect acute microinfarcts post-mortem, which may benefit future histopathological investigations on the etiology of microinfarcts.

3.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 667, 2020 Feb 03.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32015339

RESUMO

Each additional copy of the apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) allele is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's dementia, while the APOE2 allele is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's dementia, it is not yet known whether APOE2 homozygotes have a particularly low risk. We generated Alzheimer's dementia odds ratios and other findings in more than 5,000 clinically characterized and neuropathologically characterized Alzheimer's dementia cases and controls. APOE2/2 was associated with a low Alzheimer's dementia odds ratios compared to APOE2/3 and 3/3, and an exceptionally low odds ratio compared to APOE4/4, and the impact of APOE2 and APOE4 gene dose was significantly greater in the neuropathologically confirmed group than in more than 24,000 neuropathologically unconfirmed cases and controls. Finding and targeting the factors by which APOE and its variants influence Alzheimer's disease could have a major impact on the understanding, treatment and prevention of the disease.

5.
Neuron ; 105(3): 549-561.e5, 2020 Feb 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31810839

RESUMO

Paravascular drainage of solutes, including ß-amyloid (Aß), appears to be an important process in brain health and diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). However, the major driving force for clearance remains largely unknown. Here we used in vivo two-photon microscopy in awake head-fixed mice to assess the role of spontaneous vasomotion in paravascular clearance. Vasomotion correlated with paravascular clearance of fluorescent dextran from the interstitial fluid. Increasing the amplitude of vasomotion by means of visually evoked vascular responses resulted in increased clearance rates in the visual cortex of awake mice. Evoked vascular reactivity was impaired in mice with CAA, which corresponded to slower clearance rates. Our findings suggest that low-frequency arteriolar oscillations drive drainage of solutes. Targeting naturally occurring vasomotion in patients with CAA or AD may be a promising early therapeutic option for prevention of Aß accumulation in the brain.

6.
Acta Neuropathol ; 139(3): 503-526, 2020 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31853635

RESUMO

Neurodegenerative diseases are an enormous public health problem, affecting tens of millions of people worldwide. Nearly all of these diseases are characterized by oligomerization and fibrillization of neuronal proteins, and there is great interest in therapeutic targeting of these aggregates. Here, we show that soluble aggregates of α-synuclein and tau bind to plate-immobilized PrP in vitro and on mouse cortical neurons, and that this binding requires at least one of the same N-terminal sites at which soluble Aß aggregates bind. Moreover, soluble aggregates of tau, α-synuclein and Aß cause both functional (impairment of LTP) and structural (neuritic dystrophy) compromise and these deficits are absent when PrP is ablated, knocked-down, or when neurons are pre-treated with anti-PrP blocking antibodies. Using an all-human experimental paradigm involving: (1) isogenic iPSC-derived neurons expressing or lacking PRNP, and (2) aqueous extracts from brains of individuals who died with Alzheimer's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and Pick's disease, we demonstrate that Aß, α-synuclein and tau are toxic to neurons in a manner that requires PrPC. These results indicate that PrP is likely to play an important role in a variety of late-life neurodegenerative diseases and that therapeutic targeting of PrP, rather than individual disease proteins, may have more benefit for conditions which involve the aggregation of more than one protein.

7.
J Neurol ; 2019 Dec 18.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31853711

RESUMO

INTRODUCTION: The prevalence of modifiable vascular risk factors is increasing in young adults and may contribute to the growing frequency of stroke in this population. The neuropathology and end-organ damage profile of young adult stroke patients with clinically advanced atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis has not been studied. METHODS: This retrospective study included patients aged 18-60 years admitted to our hospital from 1995 to 2017 with recurrent ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes, fatal stroke, or stroke associated with advanced small vessel disease (SVD) on brain MRI, who had no evidence for structural, genetic, inflammatory, or infectious etiology for stroke, and had adequate pathological materials available for analysis. The presence of atherosclerosis, arteriolosclerosis, left ventricular hypertrophy, and nephrosclerosis was evaluated. RESULTS: Twelve patients (mean age 47 ± 9 years, range 31-57 years, 67% male) met inclusion criteria. Four had fatal intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), three had recurrent non-fatal ICH, one had ICH with advanced SVD on MRI, and four had recurrent ischemic strokes including two with transient ischemic attacks. Pathological studies showed moderate/severe atherosclerosis in 64% and moderate/severe arteriolosclerosis in 42% of patients. Pathological data to evaluate end-organ damage were available for nine patients; eight showed left ventricular hypertrophy and all showed nephrosclerosis. CONCLUSION: Young adult stroke patients with recurrent stroke, fatal stroke, or SVD on imaging have advanced atherosclerosis and arteriolosclerosis-related pathological changes in multiple organ systems. Aggressive control of atherosclerosis risk factors is warranted even in young individuals.

8.
J Neurol Surg B Skull Base ; 80(6): 562-567, 2019 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31750041

RESUMO

Objective Posterior fossa meningiomas are surgically challenging tumors that are associated with high morbidity and mortality. We sought to investigate the anatomical distribution of clinically actionable mutations in posterior fossa meningioma to facilitate identifying patients amenable for systemic targeted therapy trials. Methods Targeted sequencing of clinically targetable AKT1 , SMO , and PIK3CA mutations was performed in 61 posterior fossa meningioma using Illumina NextSeq 500 to a target depth of >500 × . Samples were further interrogated for 53 cancer-relevant RNA fusions by the Archer FusionPlex panel to detect gene rearrangements. Results AKT 1 ( E17K ) mutations were detected in five cases (8.2%), four in the foramen magnum and one in the cerebellopontine angle. In contrast, none of the posterior fossa tumors harbored an SMO ( L412F ) or a PIK3CA ( E545K ) mutation. Notably, the majority of foramen magnum meningiomas (4/7, 57%) harbored an AKT1 mutation. In addition, common clinically targetable gene fusions were not detected in any of the cases. Conclusion A large subset of foramen magnum meningiomas harbor AKT1 E17K mutations and are therefore potentially amenable to targeted medical therapy. Genotyping of foramen magnum meningiomas may enable more therapeutic alternatives and guide their treatment decision process.

9.
Acta Neuropathol Commun ; 7(1): 164, 2019 10 28.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31661038

RESUMO

INTRODUCTION: Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a tauopathy associated to repetitive head trauma. There are no validated in vivo biomarkers of CTE and a definite diagnosis can only be made at autopsy. Recent studies have shown that positron emission tomography (PET) tracer AV-1451 (Flortaucipir) exhibits high binding affinity for paired helical filament (PHF)-tau aggregates in Alzheimer (AD) brains but relatively low affinity for tau lesions in other tauopathies like temporal lobal degeneration (FTLD)-tau, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) or corticobasal degeneration (CBD). Little is known, however, about the binding profile of this ligand to the tau-containing lesions of CTE. OBJECTIVE: To study the binding properties of [18F]-AV-1451 on pathologically confirmed CTE postmortem brain tissue samples. METHODS: We performed [18F]-AV-1451 phosphor screen and high resolution autoradiography, quantitative tau measurements by immunohistochemistry and Western blot and tau seeding activity assays in brain blocks containing hippocampus, superior temporal cortex, superior frontal cortex, inferior parietal cortex and occipital cortex from 5 cases of CTE, across the stages of disease: stage II-III (n = 1), stage III (n = 3), and stage IV (n = 1). Importantly, low or no concomitant classic AD pathology was present in these brains. RESULTS: Despite the presence of abundant tau aggregates in multiple regions in all CTE brains, only faint or no [18F]-AV-1451 binding signal could be detected by autoradiography. The only exception was the presence of a strong signal confined to the region of the choroid plexus and the meninges in two of the five cases. Tau immunostaining and Thioflavin-S staining ruled out the presence of tau aggregates in those regions. High resolution nuclear emulsion autoradiography revealed the presence of leptomeningeal melanocytes as the histologic source of this off-target binding. Levels of abnormally hyperphosphorylated tau species, as detected by Western Blotting, and tau seeding activity were both found to be lower in extracts from cases CTE when compared to AD. CONCLUSION: AV-1451 may have limited utility for in vivo selective and reliable detection of tau aggregates in CTE. The existence of disease-specific tau conformations may likely explain the differential binding affinity of this tracer for tau lesions in different tauopathies.

10.
Int J Stroke ; 14(9): 956-971, 2019 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31514686

RESUMO

RATIONALE: The Boston criteria are used worldwide for the in vivo diagnosis of cerebral amyloid angiopathy and are the basis for clinical decision-making and research in the field. Given substantial advances in cerebral amyloid angiopathy's clinical aspects and MRI biomarkers, we designed a multicenter study within the International cerebral amyloid angiopathy Association aimed at further validating the diagnostic accuracy of the Boston and potentially improving and updating them. AIM: We aim to derive and validate an updated "version 2.0" of the Boston criteria across the spectrum of cerebral amyloid angiopathy-related presentations and MRI biomarkers. SAMPLE SIZE ESTIMATES: Participating centers with suitable available data (see Methods) were identified from existing collaborations and an open invitation to the International Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy Association emailing list. Our study sample will include: (1) a derivation cohort - Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston cases from inception to 2012 (∼150 patients); (2) temporal external validation cohort - MGH, Boston cases from 2012 to 2018 (∼100 patients); and (3) geographical external validation cohort - non-Boston cases (∼85 patients). METHODS AND DESIGN: Multicenter collaborative study. We will collect and analyze data from patients' age ≥ 50 with any potential sporadic cerebral amyloid angiopathy-related clinical presentations (spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage, transient focal neurological episodes and cognitive impairment), available brain MRI ("index test"), and histopathologic assessment for cerebral amyloid angiopathy ("reference standard" for diagnosis). Trained raters will assess MRI for all prespecified hemorrhagic and non-hemorrhagic small vessel disease markers of interest, according to validated criteria and a prespecified protocol, masked to clinical and histopathologic features. Brain tissue samples will be rated for cerebral amyloid angiopathy, defined as Vonsattel grade ≥2 for whole brain autopsies and ≥1 for cortical biopsies or hematoma evacuation. Based on our estimated available sample size, we will undertake pre-specified cohort splitting as above. We will: (a) pre-specify variables and statistical cut-offs; (b) examine univariable and multivariable associations; and (c) then assess classification measures (sensitivity, specificity etc.) for each MRI biomarker individually, in relation to the cerebral amyloid angiopathy diagnosis reference standard on neuropathology in a derivation cohort. The MRI biomarkers strongly associated with cerebral amyloid angiopathy diagnosis will be selected for inclusion in provisional (probable and possible cerebral amyloid angiopathy) Boston criteria v2.0 and validated using appropriate metrics and models. STUDY OUTCOMES: Boston criteria v2.0 for clinical cerebral amyloid angiopathy diagnosis. DISCUSSION: This work aims to potentially update and improve the diagnostic test accuracy of the Boston criteria for cerebral amyloid angiopathy and to provide wider validation of the criteria in a large sample. We envision that this work will meet the needs of clinicians and investigators and help accelerate progress towards better treatment of cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

11.
Neurodegener Dis Manag ; 9(4): 217-239, 2019 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31392920

RESUMO

Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) is a progressive neurocognitive syndrome, most commonly associated with the loss of complex visuospatial functions. Diagnosis is challenging, and international consensus classification and nomenclature for PCA subtypes have only recently been reached. Presently, no established treatments exist. Efforts to develop treatments are hampered by the lack of standardized methods to monitor illness progression. Although measures developed from work with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias provide a foundation for diagnosing and monitoring progression, PCA presents unique challenges for clinicians counseling patients and families on clinical status and prognosis, and experts designing clinical trials of interventions. Here, we review issues facing PCA clinical research and care, summarize our approach to diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression, and outline ideas for developing tools for these purposes.

12.
Science ; 365(6453): 559-565, 2019 08 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31395777

RESUMO

ß-amyloid (Aß)-dependent neuronal hyperactivity is believed to contribute to the circuit dysfunction that characterizes the early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although experimental evidence in support of this hypothesis continues to accrue, the underlying pathological mechanisms are not well understood. In this experiment, we used mouse models of Aß-amyloidosis to show that hyperactivation is initiated by the suppression of glutamate reuptake. Hyperactivity occurred in neurons with preexisting baseline activity, whereas inactive neurons were generally resistant to Aß-mediated hyperactivation. Aß-containing AD brain extracts and purified Aß dimers were able to sustain this vicious cycle. Our findings suggest a cellular mechanism of Aß-dependent neuronal dysfunction that can be active before plaque formation.

13.
Neurology ; 93(7): 302-309, 2019 08 13.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31405935

RESUMO

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that myoclonus in patients with multiple system atrophy with predominant cerebellar ataxia (MSA-C) is associated with a heavier burden of α-synuclein deposition in the motor regions of the spinal cord, we compared the degree of α-synuclein deposition in spinal cords of 3 patients with MSA-C with myoclonus and 3 without myoclonus. METHODS: All human tissue was obtained by the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Pathology with support from and according to neuropathology guidelines of the Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. Tissue was stained with Luxol fast blue and hematoxylin & eosin for morphologic evaluation, and with a mouse monoclonal antibody to α-synuclein and Vectastain DAB kit. Images of the spinal cord sections were digitized using a 10× objective lens. Grayscale versions of these images were transferred to ImageJ software for quantitative analysis of 8 different regions of interest (ROIs) in the spinal cord: dorsal column, anterior white column, left and right dorsal horns, left and right anterior horns, and left and right lateral corticospinal tracts. A mixed-effect, multiple linear regression model was constructed to determine if patients with and without myoclonus had significantly different distributions of α-synuclein deposition across the various ROIs. RESULTS: Patients with myoclonus had more α-synuclein in the anterior horns (p < 0.001) and lateral corticospinal tracts (p = 0.02) than those without myoclonus. CONCLUSIONS: In MSA-C, myoclonus appears to be associated with a higher burden of α-synuclein deposition within spinal cord motor regions. Future studies with more patients will be needed to confirm these findings.


Assuntos
Atrofia de Múltiplos Sistemas/patologia , Mioclonia/metabolismo , Medula Espinal/patologia , alfa-Sinucleína/metabolismo , Encéfalo/metabolismo , Encéfalo/patologia , Ataxia Cerebelar/metabolismo , Ataxia Cerebelar/patologia , Feminino , Humanos , Masculino , Pessoa de Meia-Idade , Atrofia de Múltiplos Sistemas/complicações , Mioclonia/complicações , Doença de Parkinson/complicações , Doença de Parkinson/metabolismo , Doença de Parkinson/patologia , Medula Espinal/metabolismo
14.
Acta Neuropathol ; 138(4): 509-514, 2019 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31407028
15.
Cell ; 178(4): 835-849.e21, 2019 Aug 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31327527

RESUMO

Diverse genetic, epigenetic, and developmental programs drive glioblastoma, an incurable and poorly understood tumor, but their precise characterization remains challenging. Here, we use an integrative approach spanning single-cell RNA-sequencing of 28 tumors, bulk genetic and expression analysis of 401 specimens from the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), functional approaches, and single-cell lineage tracing to derive a unified model of cellular states and genetic diversity in glioblastoma. We find that malignant cells in glioblastoma exist in four main cellular states that recapitulate distinct neural cell types, are influenced by the tumor microenvironment, and exhibit plasticity. The relative frequency of cells in each state varies between glioblastoma samples and is influenced by copy number amplifications of the CDK4, EGFR, and PDGFRA loci and by mutations in the NF1 locus, which each favor a defined state. Our work provides a blueprint for glioblastoma, integrating the malignant cell programs, their plasticity, and their modulation by genetic drivers.

18.
Ann Neurol ; 86(2): 279-292, 2019 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31152566

RESUMO

OBJECTIVE: Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is characterized by the accumulation of amyloid ß (Aß) in the walls of cortical vessels and the accrual of microbleeds and microinfarcts over time. The relationship between CAA severity and microbleeds and microinfarcts as well as the sequence of events that lead to lesion formation remain poorly understood. METHODS: We scanned intact formalin-fixed hemispheres of 12 CAA cases with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), followed by histopathological examination in predefined areas and serial sectioning in targeted areas with multiple lesions. RESULTS: In total, 1,168 cortical microbleeds and 472 cortical microinfarcts were observed on ex vivo MRI. Increasing CAA severity at the whole-brain or regional level was not associated with the number of microbleeds or microinfarcts. However, locally, the density of Aß-positive cortical vessels was lower surrounding a microbleed compared to a simulated control lesion, and higher surrounding microinfarcts. Serial sectioning revealed that for (n = 28) microbleeds, both Aß (4%) and smooth muscle cells (4%) were almost never present in the vessel wall at the site of bleeding, but Aß was frequently observed upstream or downstream (71%), as was extensive fibrin(ogen) buildup (87%). In contrast, for (n = 22) microinfarcts, vascular Aß was almost always observed at the core of the lesion (91%, p < 0.001) as well as upstream or downstream (82%), but few vessels associated with microinfarcts had intact smooth muscle cells (9%). INTERPRETATION: These observations provide a model for how a single neuropathologic process such as CAA may result in hemorrhagic or ischemic brain lesions potentially through 2 different mechanistic pathways. ANN NEUROL 2019;86:279-292.

19.
Stroke ; 50(7): 1727-1733, 2019 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31159702

RESUMO

Background and Purpose- Hematoma location within the cerebellum may help identify the dominant small vessel disease type (cerebral amyloid angiopathy [CAA] versus nonamyloid small vessel disease). However, it is unknown whether this holds true for cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) within the cerebellum. We tested the hypothesis that cerebellar CMBs restricted to the cortex and vermis (defined as superficial regions) are associated with clinically diagnosed and pathology-verified CAA. Methods- Three hundred and seven consecutive spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) patients with a baseline magnetic resonance imaging that included susceptibility-weighted imaging or angiography were enrolled. Using a topographical template, cerebellar CMB patterns were defined as strictly superficial versus deep (cerebellar gray nuclei and white matter) or mixed (both regions involved). Thirty-six ICH patients with cerebellar CMBs and neuropathology data available were evaluated for the presence of CAA. Results- One hundred and thirty-five (44%) ICH patients had CMBs in the cerebellum. In the patient group with cerebellar CMBs, 85 (63%) showed a superficial pattern, and 50 (37%) had a deep/mixed pattern. Strictly superficial cerebellar CMBs were independently associated with a supratentorial pattern of probable CAA-ICH according to the Boston criteria (odds ratio, 1.6; CI, 1.03-2.5) and deep/mixed cerebellar CMBs with a pattern of deep/mixed ICH (odds ratio, 1.8; CI, 1.2-2.7). Pathologically verified CAA was present in 23 of 24 (96%) patients with superficial cerebellar CMBs versus 3 of 12 (25%) patients with deep/mixed cerebellar CMBs ( P<0.001). Conclusions- In ICH patients, cerebellar CMBs are relatively common and often restricted to superficial regions. A strictly superficial distribution of cerebellar CMBs is associated with clinically diagnosed and pathologically verified CAA.


Assuntos
Angiopatia Amiloide Cerebral/diagnóstico por imagem , Córtex Cerebral/diagnóstico por imagem , Hemorragia Cerebral/diagnóstico por imagem , Substância Cinzenta/diagnóstico por imagem , Imagem por Ressonância Magnética , Substância Branca/diagnóstico por imagem , Idoso , Idoso de 80 Anos ou mais , Angiopatia Amiloide Cerebral/fisiopatologia , Córtex Cerebral/irrigação sanguínea , Córtex Cerebral/fisiopatologia , Hemorragia Cerebral/fisiopatologia , Feminino , Substância Cinzenta/irrigação sanguínea , Substância Cinzenta/fisiopatologia , Humanos , Masculino , Pessoa de Meia-Idade , Estudos Retrospectivos , Substância Branca/irrigação sanguínea , Substância Branca/fisiopatologia
20.
Brain ; 142(5): 1441-1457, 2019 05 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31032851

RESUMO

The primary structure of canonical amyloid-ß-protein was elucidated more than 30 years ago, yet the forms of amyloid-ß that play a role in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis remain poorly defined. Studies of Alzheimer's disease brain extracts suggest that amyloid-ß, which migrates on sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with a molecular weight of ∼7 kDa (7kDa-Aß), is particularly toxic; however, the nature of this species has been controversial. Using sophisticated mass spectrometry and sensitive assays of disease-relevant toxicity we show that brain-derived bioactive 7kDa-Aß contains a heterogeneous mixture of covalently cross-linked dimers in the absence of any other detectable proteins. The identification of amyloid-ß dimers may open a new phase of Alzheimer's research and allow a better understanding of Alzheimer's disease, and how to monitor and treat this devastating disorder. Future studies investigating the bioactivity of individual dimers cross-linked at known sites will be critical to this effort.

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