Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Increased Amount Of Enzyme In Brain May Be Marker Of Alzheimer's Disease

Date:
January 2, 1998
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
An enzyme present in extremely low quantities in normal brains has been found to be greatly increased in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

CHICAGO --- An enzyme present in extremely low quantities in normal brains has been found to be greatly increased in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease researcher M.-Marsel Mesulam, M.D., and colleagues at Northwestern University Medical School found that the enzyme, butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), increases at the stage when beta-amyloid plaques in the brain become compact and insoluble. These insoluble beta-amyloid plaques are one of two early pathological markers of Alzheimer's disease.

A report of the group's findings appears in the December issue of the Annals of Neurology. Their results suggest that BChE may help transform benign amyloid protein deposits in the brain into the compact plaques associated with the nerve degeneration and dementia of Alzheimer's disease.

Mesulam is the Ruth and Evelyn Dunbar Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, a professor of neurology and the director of the behavioral and cognitive neurology and Alzheimer's disease program at Northwestern.

In this study, he and his colleagues tested brain tissue specimens from two persons with Alzheimer's disease and specimens from four non-demented persons for the presence of BChE and its confirming markers. Their results showed that only the compact and neuritic forms of amyloid plaques had BChE. (It is this neuritic stage that is most closely associated with Alzheimer's disease-related dementia.) Many amyloid deposits that consisted almost entirely of diffuse plaques were found in tissue from non-demented subjects. BChE was therefore a better marker than amyloid for differentiating normal aging from Alzheimer's disease.

Mesulam and other investigators have shown that deposits of diffuse (and harmless) beta-amyloid may exist in the brain for many years before leading to Alzheimer's dementia.

The factors that contribute to the transformation of the beta-amyloid from a relatively inert to a disease-causing state remain unknown and may involve interactions with additional plaque constituents, he said.

Among these constituents are a number of "companion" molecules, e.g., apolipoprotein E, complement factors, acetylcholinesterase, BChE and others. Mesulam and colleagues believe that some of these companion molecules could conceivably influence the transformation of the plaque from a benign to a malignant form.

"One potential pattern for such a companion molecule would be to have a preferential association with the mature rather than early stages of amyloid plaques," Mesulam said.

Of all the companion molecules associated with beta-amyloid, only BChE is present at the later but not the initial stages of plaque maturation.

"Our evidence suggest that BChE probably is inserted into the amyloid plaque at an advanced stage of maturation, at a time when the plaque is becoming associated with pathogenic properties," Mesulam said.

Other investigators on this study were Angela L. Guillozet and John F. Smiley, research assistant professor of neurology, Northwestern University Medical School, and D.C. Mash, department of neurology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Fla.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Increased Amount Of Enzyme In Brain May Be Marker Of Alzheimer's Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 January 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980102004253.htm>.
Northwestern University. (1998, January 2). Increased Amount Of Enzyme In Brain May Be Marker Of Alzheimer's Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980102004253.htm
Northwestern University. "Increased Amount Of Enzyme In Brain May Be Marker Of Alzheimer's Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980102004253.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins