Pathological aging brains contain the same amyloid plaques as Alzheimer's disease

May 23, 2012

Pathological aging (PA) is used to describe the brains of people which have Alzheimer's disease (AD)-like pathology but where the person showed no signs of cognitive impairment whilst they were alive. New research, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, shows that PA and AD brains contain similar amyloid β (Aβ) plaques and that while on average AD brains contain more Aβ there was considerable overlap in Aβ subtypes. These results suggest that PA may simply be an early stage of AD.

AD is the most common cause of dementia. It can result in loss of memory, mood changes, and cause problems with communication and reasoning. The disease is characterized by large numbers of Ab; plaques, tangles and neuroinflammation changes within the . People with PA also have Ab; plaques, but less neuroinflammation and other AD specific brain changes, so it has been previously suggested that the Ab; plaques in PA are different and somehow less toxic than those in AD.

Researchers from University of Florida and Mayo Clinic, supported by the National Institute of Health, compared post-mortem brain tissue from people with AD, PA, and controls. When they looked at the type and amount of Ab; they found that while both AD and PA had elevated levels of Ab; on average levels were slightly lower in PA.

Comparing subtypes of Ab demonstrated that there was a great deal of similarity and overlap between AD and PA and biochemical analysis showed both AD and PA have dramatically, but equivalent, higher levels of insoluble Ab, compared to controls. Further studies showed that that there were really no major differences between the accumulated Ab in both AD and PA.

Dr Todd Golde, who coordinated the research, commented, "We found a high degree of overlap in Ab levels, profiles, and solubility, between the brains of people with PA and AD. While there might be some subtle differences in Ab, it seems that PA may represent an early stage of AD rather than a benign form of Ab deposition, and that if they live long enough people with PA will go on to develop AD. We hope that understanding the differences between PA and AD will provide new ways to help protect the brain and promote the development of AD therapeutics."

Explore further: Overlooked peptide reveals clues to causes of Alzheimer's disease

More information: Overlapping profiles of abeta peptides in the Alzheimer's disease and pathological aging brains Brenda D Moore, Paramita Chakrabarty, Yona Levites, Tom L Kukar, Ann-Marie Baine, Tina Moroni, Thomas B Ladd, Pritam Das, Dennis W Dickson and Todd E Golde Alzheimer's Research & Therapy (in press)

Related Stories

Overlooked peptide reveals clues to causes of Alzheimer's disease

July 3, 2011
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI) and their collaborators have shed light on the function of a little-studied amyloid peptide in promoting Alzheimer's disease (AD). Their surprising findings reveal that ...

Inflammatory mediator enhances plaque formation in Alzheimer's disease

September 7, 2011
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive cognitive impairment and memory loss. Now, a new study published by Cell Press in the September 8 issue of the journal Neuron identifies ...

Antiviral drugs may slow Alzheimer's progression

October 17, 2011
Antiviral drugs used to target the herpes virus could be effective at slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD), a new study shows.

Recommended for you

Researchers describe new biology of Alzheimer's disease

November 20, 2017
In a new study, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) describe a unique model for the biology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) which may lead to an entirely novel approach for treating the disease. The findings ...

Study shows video games could cut dementia risk in seniors

November 16, 2017
Could playing video games help keep the brain agile as we age?

New player in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis identified

November 14, 2017
Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have shown that a protein called membralin is critical for keeping Alzheimer's disease pathology in check. The study, published in Nature Communications, ...

Biomarker may predict early Alzheimer's disease

November 10, 2017
Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have identified a peptide that could lead to the early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The discovery, published in Nature Communications, may ...

Smell test challenge suggests clinical benefit for some before development of Alzheimer's

November 10, 2017
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) may have discovered a way to use a patient's sense of smell to treat Alzheimer's disease before it ever develops. ...

How SORLA protects against Alzheimer's disease

November 7, 2017
Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have identified a new protective function for a brain protein genetically linked to Alzheimer's. The findings, published in the Journal of Experimental ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.