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Mol Chem Neuropathol. 1991 Jun;14(3):213-26.

Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Brain levels of glutathione, glutathione disulfide, and vitamin E.

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School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.


Human brain levels of glutathione (GSH), glutathione disulfide (GSSG), and vitamin E were measured in neurologically normal control patients and two groups of patients with neurodegeneration: those with Alzheimer's disease (AD), and AD with some features of Parkinson's disease (AD-PD). Control brain samples contained GSH levels more than 50 times higher than GSSG. The levels of GSH were highest in the caudate nucleus and lowest in the medulla. In patients with AD or AD-PD, hippocampal levels of GSH were significantly higher than controls. Patients with AD also demonstrated high GSH levels in the midbrain compared to normal. In contrast, patients with AD-PD did not have significantly elevated GSH levels in this site. GSSG levels were not significantly different in any brain region between controls and diseased patients. In control brains, the medulla had higher levels of vitamin E than any other brain region. The caudate nucleus had the lowest levels, which were about half the levels in the medulla. Control levels of vitamin E in the midbrain were about 18.8 micrograms/g. In AD patients the midbrain levels of vitamin E doubled to 42.3 micrograms/g. This doubling also occurred in AD-PD patients where midbrain vitamin E levels increased to 44.0 micrograms/g. These results may indicate that compensatory increases in GSH and vitamin E levels occur following damage to specific brain regions in patients with AD or AD-PD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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