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Neurobiol Dis. 2004 Apr;15(3):492-9.

Neuronal COX-2 expression and phosphorylation of pRb precede p38 MAPK activation and neurofibrillary changes in AD temporal cortex.

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Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School Neurosciences Amsterdam, Research Institute Neurosciences, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain, increased levels of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), cell cycle markers, and p38 MAP kinase (MAPK) can be detected in neuronal cells. Besides mediating COX-2 expression, p38 MAPK is suggested to mediate cell cycle progression through phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein (pRb). In this study, we show that neuronal immunoreactivity for phosphorylated p38 MAPK does not correlate with COX-2 or phosphorylated pRb (ppRb) in control and AD temporal cortex. Immunoreactivity for activated p38 MAPK co-localizes with AT8 immunoreactivity and increases with the occurrence of neurofibrillary tangles and plaques. On the other hand, COX-2 immunoreactivity co-localizes and correlates with ppRb immunoreactivity in pyramidal neurons. COX-2 and ppRb do not co-localize with AT8 and decrease with increasing pathology. These results suggest that p38 MAPK does not mediate COX-2 expression and pRb inactivation, which are involved in cellular changes in pyramidal neurons early in AD pathogenesis.

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