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QJM. 1999 Jan;92(1):39-45.

Plasma chain-breaking antioxidants in Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, Queen's University of Belfast, UK.


We studied the plasma chain-breaking antioxidants alpha carotene, beta carotene, lycopene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and a measure of total antioxidant capacity, TAC, in 79 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), 37 patients with vascular dementia (VaD), 18 patients with Parkinson's disease and dementia (PDem), and 58 matching controls, together with 41 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and 41 matching controls. Significant reductions in individual antioxidants were observed in all dementia groups. When compared to controls, the following were reduced: Vitamin A in AD (p < 0.01) and VaD (p < 0.001); Vitamin C in AD (p < 0.001), VaD (p < 0.001) and PDem (p < 0.01); Vitamin E in AD (p < 0.01) and VaD (p < 0.001); beta carotene in VaD (p = 0.01); lycopene in PDem (p < 0.001). Lycopene was also reduced in PDem compared to AD (p < 0.001) and VaD (p < 0.001). Antioxidant levels in PD were not depleted. No significant change in TAC was seen in any group. The reduction in plasma chain-breaking antioxidants in patients with dementia may reflect an increased free-radical activity, and a common role in cognitive impairment in these conditions. Increased free-radical activity in VaD and PDem could be associated with concomitant AD pathology. Individual antioxidant changes are not reflected in TAC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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