Amyloidosis Fact: Amyloidosis is
not a single disease, but rather a term given to a group of diseases
characterized by the deposition of protein material, called amyloid,
into the tissues of the body.
In medicine, amyloidosis refers to a variety of conditions in which amyloid proteins are abnormally deposited
in organs and/or tissues. A protein is described as being amyloid if, due to an alteration in its
secondary structure, it takes on a particular aggregated insoluble form similar to the beta-pleated
sheet. Symptoms vary widely depending upon the site of amyloid deposition. Amyloidosis may be
inherited or acquired.
The modern classification of amyloid disease tends to use an abbreviation of the protein that makes the
majority of deposits, prefixed with the letter A. For example amyloidosis caused by transthyretin is
termed "ATTR." Deposition patterns vary between patients but are almost always composed of just one
amyloidogenic protein. Deposition can be systemic (affecting many different organ systems) or
organ-specific. Many amyloidoses are inherited, due to mutations in the precursor protein. Other
forms are due to different diseases causing overabundant or abnormal protein production - such as
with over production of immunoglobulin light chains in multiple myeloma (termed AL amyloid), or
with continuous overproduction of acute phase proteins in chronic inflammation (which can lead to
Out of the approximately 60 amyloid proteins that have been identified so far, at least 36 have been
associated in some way with a human disease.
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