The disrupted metabolism of sugar, fat and calcium is part of the process that causes the death of neurons in Alzheimer’s disease.

important parts of the nerve cell that are involved in the cell’s energy metabolism operate in the early stages of the disease

In the Alzheimer’s disease brain, plaques consisting of so called amyloid-beta-peptide (Aβ) are accumulated.

the nerve cells of patients with Alzheimer’s disease have problems metabolising for example glucose and calcium,

these disorders are associated with cell death. The metabolism of these substances is the job of the cell mitochondria, which serve as the cell’s power plant and supply the cell with energy.

for the mitochondria to do this, they need good contact with another part of the cell called the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The specialised region of ER that is in contact with mitochondria is called the MAM region

the deactivation of certain proteins in the MAM region disrupt the contact points between the mitochondria and the ER, preventing the delivery of energy to the cell and causing cell death.

Although in early stage Alzheimer’s disease Aβ has not formed large, lumpy plaques, symptoms still appear, implying that Aβ that has not yet formed plaque is toxic to neurons.

When nerve cells are exposed to low doses of Aβ, it leads to an increase in the number of contact points between the mitochondria and the ER, causing more calcium to be transferred from the ER to the mitochondria. The resulting over-accumulation of calcium is toxic to the mitochondria and affects their ability to supply energy to the nerve cell.

Source:
http://m.medicalxpress.com/news/2013-04-early-stage-alzheimer-disease.html

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