Assis-Nascimento P, Jarvis KM, Montague JR, Mudd LM.
Beta-amyloid toxicity in embryonic rat astrocytes.
Neurochem Res. 2007 Sep;32(9):1476-82.
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This probably is a very important paper with reference to the progression of Alzheimer disease, if not to the initiating factors.
Alzheimer disease could be initiated by death of astrocytes, which are essential in synaptogenesis and maintenance of synaptic function. If astrocytes are lost, or perhaps just dysfunctional due to astrocytosis, then neurons would not be able to either initiate new synapses or maintain the older synapses they have, essentially becoming dysfunctional.
Widespread synaptic loss if evident in Alzheimer disease, probably prior to the advent of neronal cell death, with loss of functions such as learning and memory.