Cerebrospinal Fluid Aβ42 Levels: When Physiological Become Pathological State

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Impaired amyloid beta (Aβ) metabolism is currently considered central to understand the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Measurements of cerebrospinal fluid Aβ levels remain the most useful marker for diagnostic purposes and to individuate people at risk for AD. Despite recent advances criticized the direct role in neurodegeneration of cortical neurons, Aβ is considered responsible for synaptopathy and impairment of neurotransmission and therefore remains the major trigger of AD and future pharmacological treatment remain Aβ oriented. However, experimental and clinical findings showed that Aβ peptides could have a wider range of action responsible for cell dysfunction and for appearance of clinico-pathological entities different from AD. Such findings may induce misunderstanding of the real role played by Aβ in AD and therefore strengthen criticism on its centrality and need for CSF measurements. Aim of this review is to discuss the role of CSF Aβ levels in light of experimental, clinical pathologic, and electrophysiological results in AD and other pathological entities to put in a correct frame the value of Aβ changes.

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