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Neurochem Res. 2002 Oct;27(10):1035-48.

Gene expression profiles of cholinergic nucleus basalis neurons in Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Cholinergic neurons of the nucleus basalis (NB) are selectively vulnerable in Alzheimer's disease (AD), yet the molecular mechanisms associated with their dysfunction remain unknown. We used single cell RNA amplification and custom array technology to examine the expression of functional classes of mRNAs found in anterior NB neurons from normal aged and AD subjects. mRNAs encoding neurotrophin receptors, synaptic proteins, protein phosphatases, and amyloid-related proteins were evaluated. We found that trkB and trkC mRNAs were selectively down-regulated in NB neurons, whereas p75NTR mRNA levels remained stable in end stage AD. TrkA mRNA was reduced by approximately 28%, but did not reach statistical significance. There was a down-regulation of synaptophysin, synaptotagmin, and protein phosphatases PP1alpha and PP1beta mRNAs in AD. In contrast, we found a selective up-regulation of cathepsin D mRNA in NB neurons in AD brain. Thus, anterior NB neurons undergo selective alterations in gene expression in AD. These results may provide clues to the molecular pathogenesis of NB neuronal degeneration during AD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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