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Acta Neuropathol. 2006 Aug;112(2):163-74. Epub 2006 Jun 1.

Characterization of Abeta11-40/42 peptide deposition in Alzheimer's disease and young Down's syndrome brains: implication of N-terminally truncated Abeta species in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Senile plaques (SPs), one of two defining lesions of Alzheimer's disease (AD), are composed of a mixture of full-length Abeta1-40/42, and N- or C-terminally truncated Abeta peptides, including Abeta11-40/42. Sequential proteolysis of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by beta- and gamma-secretases produces Abeta1-40/42, but beta-site APP-cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1), the major beta-secretase, also generates Abeta11-40/42, and BACE1 overexpression in cultured cells results primarily in secretion of Abeta11-40/42. The ratio of Abeta11-40/42 to Abeta1-40/42 depends on the ratio of BACE1 to APP, and Abeta11-40/42 can be generated from both full-length APP and its carboxy-terminal fragment (C99). Here, we investigated the role of Abeta11-40/42 in the pathogenesis of AD and Down's syndrome (DS) brains. We demonstrated significant amount of Abeta11-42 in DS brains by Western blots. While pyroAbeta11-42-modified Abeta species existed predominantly in mature SP cores in AD brain sections, both unmodified free Abeta11-40 and pyro-modified Abeta11-40 are detected in vascular amyloid deposits by immunohistochemistry. Using novel ELISAs for quantifying free Abeta11-40/42 and pyroAbeta11-40/42, we showed that insoluble Abeta11-42 predominated in extracts of AD and DS brains. This is the first systematic study of Abeta11-40/42 in neurodegenerative Abeta amyloidosis implicating Abeta11-40/42 in SP formation of AD and DS brains. The detection of Abeta11-42 in young DS brain suggests an early role for this N-terminally truncated Abeta peptide in the pathogenesis of SPs in AD and DS.

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