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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2004 Sep;111(9):1167-82. Epub 2004 May 14.

Impact of gender on upregulation of antioxidant defence mechanisms in Alzheimer's disease brain.

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Department of Pharmacology, Biocentre, J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany.


Since oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and since the age-adjusted incidence of AD is higher in females than males, we examined a possible influence of gender on antioxidant metabolism in brains from male and female AD patients and age-matched controls. Activities of copper/zinc-dependent superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione-disulfide reductase (GR) were elevated in AD samples compared to controls. Upon in vitro stimulation, levels of malondialdehyde formation were significantly lower in AD samples, probably due to the increased antioxidant capacity. Overall, our results indicate that antioxidant metabolism is functionally still intact but increased in AD implying that oxidative damage is caused rather by overproduction than by insufficient detoxification of ROS. Among AD patients, a gender-specific partial upregulation of antioxidant defence was present: activities of SOD and GPx were even further increased in female patients, and levels of 4-hydroxynonenal, a marker of oxidative damage, were higher than in male patients. Importantly, our results are in line with epidemiological studies indicating a higher risk for AD in females. Thus, gender differences in oxidative stress parameters might be related to the higher prevalence of AD in females.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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