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Neurobiol Aging. 2004 Jan;25(1):105-10.

Cytochrome c oxidase is decreased in Alzheimer's disease platelets.

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Faculty of Medicine, Center for Neuroscience of Coimbra, University of Coimbra, 3004 517, Portugal.


Cytochrome c oxidase (COX) activity reportedly is reduced in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain and platelets. The reasons for the defect in either tissue are unknown, but its presence in a non-degenerating tissue suggests it is not simply a consequence of neurodegeneration. We now offer confirmation of the AD platelet COX defect. Compared to age-matched controls, in mitochondria isolated from AD platelets there was a 15% decrease in COX activity despite the fact that COX subunits were present at normal levels. Platelet ATP levels were diminished in AD (from 11.33 +/- 0.52 to 9.11 +/- 0.72 nmol/mg), while reactive oxygen species (ROS) were increased (from 97.03 +/- 25.9 to 338.3 +/- 100 K/mg). Platelet membrane fluidity, Vitamin E, and cholesterol content were similar between groups. We conclude that COX catalytic activity is indeed diminished in AD platelet mitochondria, does not result from altered membrane fluidity, and is associated with ROS overproduction and ATP under-production.

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