Mariajose Castellanos and Bradford Gates. Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, UMBC, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250
There has been research into beta amyloid (Aβ - one of the primary constituents in Alzheimer's disease) creating an ion channel inside the cell membrane. The proposed beta amyloid channel shares many qualities with other ion channels. It has both an open and closed state, and, while in the open state, ions travel through it via diffusion. The channel is voltage gated. It can be inhibited by various substances but no model of this channel yet exists. Using kinetic and equilibrium data from literature, a prototype model was created and implemented in a neuron model. This model channel showed strong parallels with experimental data. For example: the presence of beta amyloid is known to increase the excitability of a neuron's membrane. Running the model with an increase in the concentration of beta amyloid causes an increase in the frequency of spikes in the voltage profile. This is a clear indication of increased membrane excitability. While the actual frequency of voltage spikes is likely higher than would happen experimentally, the trend of increasing excitability is correct. The prototype model shows a strong correlation with all of the trends expected when Aβ interacts with neurons. This shows that the Aβ channel has a distinct possibility of being a prime part of Aβ-neuron interactions.