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|Amyloid plaques are insoluble
deposits of beta-amyloid - a protein fragment snipped from a larger protein (amyloid
precursor protein = APP).
Although researchers arenít sure whether these plaques are a by-product of AD or a cause of AD, it is known that changes in the structure of the APP can cause AD.
Scientific research is now focusing on preventing the development of beta-amyloid or inhibiting its deposition into insoluble plaques.
Two other protein molecules, presenilin 1 and presenilin 2, may be associated with the actual clipping of APP into beta-amyloid, stress-related cell death, and the ability of neurotransmitters to travel across synapses - the tiny gaps between neurons.
Mutations in these three genes located on 3 different chromosomes account for almost all cases of Familial AD.