Although Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the extracellular deposition of fibrillar aggregates of beta-amyloid (Aβ), transient oligomeric species of Aβ are increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of AD. Natively unfolded monomeric Aβ can misfold and progressively assemble into fibrillar aggregates, following a well-established "on pathway" seeded-nucleation mechanism. Here, we show that three simple saccharides, mannose, sucrose, and raffinose, alter Aβ aggregation kinetics and morphology. The saccharides inhibit formation of Aβ fibrils but promote formation of various oligomeric aggregate species through different "off pathway" aggregation mechanisms at 37°C but not at 60°C. The various oligomeric Aβ aggregates formed when coincubated with the different saccharides are morphologically distinct but all are toxic toward SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells, increasing the level of toxicity and greatly prolonging toxicity compared with Aβ alone. As a wide variety of anti-Aβ aggregation strategies are being actively pursued as potential therapeutics for AD, these studies suggest that care must be taken to ensure that the therapeutic agents also block toxic oligomeric Aβ assembly as well as inhibit fibril formation.
- Alzheimer's disease
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