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The Brain's Microenvironment, Early Functional Loss, and the Conversion to Alzheimer's Disease


Address for correspondence: Dr. Carl W. Cotman, Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California, Irvine, 1113 Gillespie N.R.F., Irvine, California 92697-4540. Voice: 949-824-5847; fax: 949-824-2071.


Abstract: We hypothesize that insults in the local microenvironment may cause selective, local neurite degeneration by apoptotic-like mechanisms, leading to the loss of synaptic connectivity observed in the Alzheimer disease brain. This may be an early mechanism of neurodegeneration, potentially contributing to neuronal vulnerability and disease pathogenesis.