Tangles Inside Brain Cells : Alzheimer's is not thought to be caused by amyloid alone. Experts say that the amyloid buildup has an accomplice in another compound that interferes with nerve function—neurofibrillary tangles. The long axons that extend from a nerve's cell body to connect with other neurons maintain their shape thanks to internal structures known as microtubules. As Alzheimer's progresses, however, the tight structure of these microtubules starts to fall apart. A normal component of nerve cells, a protein called tau, undergoes pathologic changes which are associated with neurofibrillary tangle formation. These neurofibrillary tangles accumulate in the neuron's cell body and, combined with growing deposits of amyloid plaques, start to disrupt the function of nerve cells. These cells eventually die, leading to loss of essential brain functions. 1. As Alzheimer's progresses the tight structure of these microtubules starts to fall apart 2. Tau proteins form filaments which travel to the neuron body 3. Unhealthy neurons packed with tangles cannot communicate with other neurons and eventually die
Neurofibrillary Tangles (NFTs) are aggregates of hyperphosphorylated tau protein that are most commonly known as a primary marker of Alzheimer's Disease. Their presence is also found in numerous other diseases known as tauopathies. Little is known about their exact relationship to the different pathologies.
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