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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2012 Mar;71(3):233-41. doi: 10.1097/NEN.0b013e318248e614.

The earliest stage of cognitive impairment in transition from normal aging to Alzheimer disease is marked by prominent RNA oxidation in vulnerable neurons.

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  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi, Chuo, Yamanashi, Japan.


Although neuronal RNA oxidation is a prominent and established feature in age-associated neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer disease (AD), oxidative damage to neuronal RNA in aging and in the transitional stages from normal elderly to the onset of AD has not been fully examined. In this study, we used an in situ approachto identify an oxidized RNA nucleoside 8-hydroxyguanosine (8OHG) in the cerebral cortex of 65 individuals without dementia ranging in age from 0.3 to 86 years. We also examined brain samples from 20 elderly who were evaluated for their premortem clinicaldementia rating score and postmortem brain pathologic diagnoses to investigate preclinical AD and mild cognitive impairment. Relative density measurements of 8OHG-immunoreactivity revealed a statistically significant increase in neuronal RNA oxidation during aging in the hippocampus and the temporal neocortex. In subjects with mild cognitive impairment but not preclinical AD, neurons of the temporal cortex showed a higher burden of oxidized RNA compared to age-matched controls. These results indicate that, although neuronal RNA oxidation fundamentally occurs as an age-associated phenomenon, more prominent RNA damage than in normal aging correlates with the onset of cognitive impairment in the prodromal stage of AD.

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