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Recently, I began working in a lab in which our main area of study is Aβ peptides. My concern is whether or not exposure to high levels of Aβ proteins is hazardous.

I suspect that the peptides cannot pass through one's dermis, but this is just speculation. Also, if one were to accidentally ingest Aβ, it would likely be broken down into its monomers by your digestive system before it could cause any harm.

I've tried to find resources covering my concerns but to no avail.

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you speak german? I have a newspaper article that could lead you to some papers covering it. As far as I read it, it is still a question of research. $\endgroup$ – mcocdawc Feb 7 '16 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ I am going to let someone with more expertise actually answer, but for anything you use in a lab that you don't prepare yourself, there's (by law, in the States at least) a MSDS available for it, and usually with a chemical hygiene plan that anyone can access. $\endgroup$ – jonsca Feb 7 '16 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ No I don't speak German. $\endgroup$ – T. Kent Feb 7 '16 at 0:46
  • $\begingroup$ We synthesize these proteins in our lab. We work with the wild type protein and mutants of it. But I hadn't actually thought to consult an MSDS. Might be wise. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – T. Kent Feb 7 '16 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ This question is suited for Biology as it does not discuss any aspect that particularly pertains to the chemical reactions underlying the process. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Feb 9 '16 at 6:56
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Amyloid proteins form insoluble aggregates and they cannot pass through the dermis. The aggregates can be (and frequently are, in the intracellular context) resistant to digestion but they would not be absorbed from the gut. Moreover, these peptides are not "toxic" per se. It is their property of forming aggregates and plaques that gives rise to the pathology observed in the associated neurodegenerative diseases. It is important to note that neural tissue does not regenerate like many other tissues in the body and that is one reason why neural tissue is vulnerable.

So unless you inject some of these proteins inside your cranium, it is unlikely that you will suffer from any problems beacause of Aβ exposure.

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