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.

Related Articles


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 November 23, 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 November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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