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J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;30(4):963-79. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-112069.

Reelin depletion is an early phenomenon of Alzheimer's pathology.

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Institute of Pathology and Neuropathology, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany.


Alterations in the expression of Reelin (RELN) have been implicated in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, whether these changes are cause or consequence of AD remains to be resolved. To better understand the role of RELN pathway in the development of AD, we examined the expression profile of RELN and its downstream signaling members APOER2, VLDLR, and DAB1 in AD-vulnerable regions of transgenic and wildtype mice as well as in AD patients and controls across disease stages and/or aging. We show that both AD pathology and aging are associated with perturbation of the RELN pathway in a species-, region-, and molecule-specific manner. Further, we show that depletion of RELN, but not its downstream signaling molecules, is detectable long before the onset of amyloid-β pathology in the murine hippocampus and in a pre-clinical AD stage in the human frontal cortex. This early event hints at a possible causative role of RELN decline in the precipitation of AD pathology and supports RELN's potential as a pre-clinical marker for AD.

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