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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2005 Oct;31(5):522-35.

Attenuation of Abeta deposition in the entorhinal cortex of normal elderly individuals associated with tobacco smoking.

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  • 1MRC Building, Newcastle General Hospital, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 6BE, UK. j.a.court@ncl.ac.uk


Investigating correlates of tobacco smoking provides the only currently available opportunity of examining effects of long-term exposure of nicotinic receptors on a specific nicotinic agonist in human. Alzheimer-type pathology (Abeta and abnormally phosphorylated tau assessed on the basis of AT8 immunoreactivity) together with vascular markers has been compared in age-matched groups of normal elderly smokers and non-smokers in the entorhinal cortex, an area of noted age-related pathology. The density of total Abeta and diffuse Abeta immunoreactivity, together with formic acid-extractable Abeta42 but not Abeta40, was reduced in smokers (n = 10-18) compared with non-smokers (n = 10-20) (P < 0.05). There was also a reduced percentage of cortical and leptomeningeal vessels with associated Abeta immunoreactivity in smokers (n = 13) compared with non-smokers (n = 14) (P < 0.005 and 0.05, respectively). There was a significant inverse correlation between formic acid-extractable Abeta42 and pack years (n = 34, r = -0.389, P = 0.025), with a similar trend for total Abeta immunoreactivity which did not reach statistical significance (n = 30, r = -0.323, P = 0.082). In contrast, there were no significant group differences for vascular markers (collagen IV, alpha-actin or glucose transporter 1), AT8 immunoreactivity or phosphate-buffered saline-soluble Abeta peptides, and no significant associations with gender for any of the measured parameters. These findings are consistent with previously reported reductions in histologically assessed amyloid plaques in aged human brain associated with tobacco use and dramatic lessening of Abeta deposits in APPsw mice after nicotine treatment. Development of nicotinic drugs to protect against beta-amyloidosis as one of the principal pathological hallmarks of brain ageing and Alzheimer's disease is indicated.

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