Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a widespread form of dementia that is estimated to affect 44.4 million people worldwide. AD pathology is closely related to the accumulation of amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides in fibrils and plagues, the small oligomeric intermediate species formed during the Aβ peptides aggregation presenting the highest neurotoxicity.
This review discusses the recent advances on the Aβ peptides electrochemical characterization. The Aβ peptides oxidation at a glassy carbon electrode occurs in one or two steps, depending on the amino acid sequence, length and content. The first electron transfer reaction corresponds to the tyrosine Tyr10 amino acid residue oxidation, and the second to all three histidine (His6, His13 and His14) and one methionine (Met35) amino acid residues. The Aβ peptides aggregation and amyloid fibril formation are electrochemically detected via the electroactive amino acids oxidation peak currents decrease that occurs in a time dependent manner. The Aβ peptides redox behaviour is correlated with changes in the adsorption morphology from initially random coiled structures, corresponding to the Aβ peptide monomers in random coil or in α-helix conformations, to aggregates, protofibrils and two types of fibrils, corresponding to the Aβ peptides in a β-sheet configuration, observed by atomic force microscopy. Electrochemical studies of Aβ peptides aggregation, mediated by the interaction with metal ions, particularly zinc, copper and iron, and different methodologies concerning the detection of Aβ peptide biomarkers of AD in biological fluids, using electrochemical biosensors, are also discussed.