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Scientists sniff out how amyloid β contributes to loss of smell in Alzheimer’s disease

Loss of smell or olfactory dysfunction is an early indication of the neurodegenerative Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and appears in approximately 90% of all patients. While loss of smell is a major symptom, patients with AD are only unable to recognize specific odors and do not completely lose their sense of smell; this suggests a possible region-specific involvement of the olfactive center in the brain. Amyloid β (Aβ), a toxic protein that accumulates in the brain is a known contributing factor in AD pathogenesis and is also present in the olfactory system that controls the sense of smell. However, the pathology and mechanisms of AD-specific olfactory dysfunction involving olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) remain unclear.