peptides derived from amyloid precursor protein, these fragments of amyloid beta are the main protein component of plaques, and probably a major cause for the their toxicity. They are thought to bind to a receptor in the brain, blocking the signals needed for learning and memory. The peptides come in two forms: A-beta 42 and A-beta 40. A subunit of gamma-secretase, the protein CD147, is now thought to regulate the production of A-beta 42. Amyloid beta peptides routinely circulate in the human bloodstream, where they are harmless. Early beta amyloid accumulation within neurons is the trigger for the onset of memory decline in Alzheimer's.
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