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Ann Neurol. 1992 Jul;32(1):57-65.

An abnormality of plasma amyloid protein precursor in Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne, Australia.


beta A4 amyloid deposition in the brain, which is characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD), may result from either overexpression of the amyloid protein precursor (APP) or failure of APP to be correctly processed. A blood marker reflecting this abnormal metabolism would be of diagnostic value and would provide a means of monitoring the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. We analyzed immunoblots of plasma APP enriched by heparin-Sepharose chromatography from patients with moderate to severe AD dementia (n = 34) and control subjects (n = 77) and found an approximately 50% increase in the proportion of 130-kd APP species in patients with AD (p less than 0.001), no difference in the 110-kd form, a 15 to 30% decrease in the 65-kd form (p less than 0.001), and a 20 to 35% decrease in the proportion of 42-kd APP (p less than 0.001). These species of APP were soluble, lacked the carboxyl terminus, and the 110- and 42-kd species were shown to be consistent with degradation products derived from the 130-kd species. A comparison of levels of 130-kd plasma APP from moderately to severely demented patients with AD and control subjects distinguished the two groups with a specificity of 87.0% and a sensitivity of 79.4%.

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