The use of mass spectrometry to study amyloid-β peptides


  • Giuseppe Grasso

    Corresponding author
    1. Chemistry Department, Università di Catania, Viale Andrea Doria 6, Catania 95125, Italy
    • Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, Università di Catania, Viale Andrea Doria 6, Catania 95125, Italy.
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Amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) varies in size from 39 to 43 amino acids and arises from sequential β- and γ-secretase processing of the amyloid precursor protein. Whereas the non-pathological role for Aβ is yet to be established, there is no disputing that Aβ is now widely regarded as central to the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The so named “amyloid cascade hypothesis” states that disease progression is the result of an increased Aβ burden in affected areas of the brain. To elucidate the Aβ role in AD, many analytical approaches have been proposed as suitable tools to investigate not only the total Aβ load but also many other issues that are considered crucial for AD, such as: (i) the aggregation state in which Aβ is present; (ii) its interaction with other species or metals; (iii) its ability to induce oxidative stress; and (iv) its degradative pathways. This review provides an insight into the use of mass spectrometry (MS) in the field of Aβ investigation aimed to assess its role in AD. In particular, the different MS-based approaches applied in vitro and in vivo that can provide detailed information on the above-mentioned issues are reviewed. Moreover, the advantages offered by the MS methods over all the other techniques are highlighted, together with the recent developments and uses of combined analytical approaches to detect and characterize Aβ. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Mass Spec Rev 30:347–365, 2011