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Mechanism of Alzheimer neurofibrillary degeneration and the formation of tangles


The microtubule-associated protein (MAP) tau, which is abnormally hyperphosphorylated in the brain of patients with Alzheimer disease, sequesters normal MAPs and disassembles microtubules. The association between the abnormal tau and normal tau, and not MAP1 or MAP2, produces tangles of filaments. The breakdown of microtubule network most likely results in compromised axonal transport and retrograde degeneration of the affected neurons.

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Iqbal, K., Grundke-Iqbal, I. Mechanism of Alzheimer neurofibrillary degeneration and the formation of tangles. Mol Psychiatry 2, 178–180 (1997).

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