Alzheimer’s Disease is a ‘Double-Prion Disorder,’ Study Shows

Self-Propagating Amyloid and Tau Prions found in Post-Mortem Brain Samples, With Highest Levels in Patients Who Died Young

By Nicholas Weiler (UCSF News)


Two proteins central to the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease act as prions — misshapen proteins that spread through tissue like an infection by forcing normal proteins to adopt the same misfolded shape — according to new UC San Francisco research.

Using novel laboratory tests, the researchers were able to detect and measure specific, self-propagating prion forms of the proteins amyloid beta (Aß) and tau in postmortem brain tissue of 75 Alzheimer’s patients. In a striking finding, higher levels of these prions in human brain samples were strongly associated with early-onset forms of the disease and younger age at death.

Read the full UCSF News article

Read coverage in Gizmodo (“These Scientists Want to Redefine Alzheimer's as a 'Double-Prion' Disease”)

Read the paper in Science Translational Medicine