Cells use various mechanisms to degrade and recycle material, removing faulty machinery or incorrect proteins efficiently for the most part. The lysosome, one of these 'disposal' units, breaks a huge assortment of molecules down with various enzymes and an acidic interior. A failure or dysregulation of this overall system has been implicated in aging and new research may have confirmed it could be a fundamental aspect of Alzheimer's disease.
Large numbers of lysosomes appear near the amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer's disease and levels of the enzyme β-secretase are increased - an enzyme involved with producing the toxic amyloid peptide implicated in plaque formation. Interestingly, these lysosomes appear to be dysfunctional and lack a key degrading enzyme able to remove β-secretase; enabling a vicious circle of accumulating plaque. Correcting this lysosomal dysfunction could prove another route of attack in the battle against Alzheimer's.
Read more at Medical Express