12. More about tangles
Alzheimer’s Disease and the Brain
Tangles destroy a vital cell transport system made of proteins. This electron microscope picture shows a cell with some healthy areas and other areas where tangles are forming.
- The transport system is organized in orderly parallel strands somewhat like railroad tracks. Food molecules, cell parts and other key materials travel along the “tracks.”
- A protein called tau (rhymes with wow) helps the tracks stay straight.
- Tau collapses into twisted strands called tangles.
- The tracks can no longer stay straight. They fall apart and disintegrate.
- Nutrients and other essential supplies can no longer move through the cells, which eventually die.
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