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QJM. 2001 Sep;94(9):485-90.

Increased oxidative stress in Alzheimer's disease as assessed with 4-hydroxynonenal but not malondialdehyde.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, Queens University of Belfast, Belfast, UK.


Oxidative stress is thought to play a major role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although there is strong post-mortem and experimental evidence of oxidative damage occurring in AD brains, the use of markers in the peripheral circulation to show oxidative stress is less convincing. We examined plasma from AD patients for markers of increased oxidative stress. We report elevated levels of 4-hydroxy-nonenal (4-HNE) in AD patients compared to controls (median 20.6, IQR 6.0-25.2 vs. 7.8, 3.3-14.5 micomol/l, respectively; p=0.001) but not malondialdehyde (MDA), and lower levels of ascorbate in AD plasma when compared to age-matched controls (9.9, 6.0-33.7 vs. 24.2, 13.9-48.6 micromol/l; p<0.05). Levels of 4-HNE in AD patients were inversely related to ascorbate (r=-0.337; p=0.07) and Folstein Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) (r=-0.474; p=0.015). The concentration of protein sulphydryls, free-radical scavengers, was directly related to the MMSE result (r=0.427; p=0.03). Increased production of 4-HNE indicates increased oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation), which is not evident using the more common marker MDA. This elevation of 4-HNE was related to the degree of cognitive impairment (MMSE).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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