Nanoscale_Bioscience article in Top 25 articles of 2018

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Amyloid plaque composite displaying abnormal metal deposits
Posted on 07 February 2019
Research shows abnormal metal deposits present in Alzheimer's brain samples, which could contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

The article "Nanoscale synchrotron X-ray speciation of iron and calcium compounds in amyloid plaque cores from Alzheimer's disease subjects" from Keele University ISTM's Nanoscale Bioscience group has been included in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Nanoscale journal's 25 most popular articles list for 2018, based on citations, number of full text downloads, and the article's presence online, both through social media and news outlets.

The work is a joint effort between Keele University and the University of Warwick, and represents a long standing collaboration between the two groups. Professor Neil Telling is the PI at Keele and Joanna Collingwood is the PI at Warwick (Trace Metals in Medicine group). Keele University post-doctoral research associate James Everett is a co-author of the article.

In essence, the group discovered that amyloid plaques extracted from the grey matter of a brain with Alzheimer's disease contain abnormal metal inclusions which could contribute to the development of the disease. The work involved examining amyloid plaques, structures that are observed in the brains of Alzheimer's disease subjects, using advanced x-ray techniques. They found the plaques to contain multiple metals, including forms of iron that are harmful to the brain, which could contribute the development of Alzheimer's. They therefore conclude that these harmful types of iron may represent a target for future treatments of the disease. They also saw evidence of magnetic iron and high levels of calcium within the plaques, which could be used as markers for imaging techniques such as MRI in disease diagnosis.

The image from the article shows the chemical composition of amyloid plaque core material, a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, which was extracted from a diseased subject. This image, obtained using synchrotron X-ray microscopy, shows protein (green), calcium (blue), carbonate (sky blue) and iron (red) distribution in the plaque core. 

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These articles are all open access.