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Am J Pathol. 1994 Jul;145(1):42-7.

Heme oxygenase-1 is associated with the neurofibrillary pathology of Alzheimer's disease.

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Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.


Heme oxygenase-1 is an important enzyme that degrades heme, a pro-oxidant, leading to the formation of antioxidant molecules. In this study we demonstrate by immunocytochemistry close association of heme oxygenase-1 with Alzheimer neurofibrillary pathology and with the neurofibrillary tangles found in progressive supranuclear palsy and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. In Alzheimer's disease, using two different rabbit antisera against heme oxygenase-1 protein, we localized, using immunocytochemical methods, heme oxygenase-1 to neurofibrillary tangles, senile plaque neurites, granulovacuolar degeneration, and neuropil threads. Only light background staining was seen in young controls and sporadic lesion-related immunoreactivity in age-matched controls. The increase in heme oxygenase-1 protein in association with the neurofibrillary pathology of Alzheimer's disease and other diseases characterized by neurofibrillary tangles supports the notion that the generation of free radicals and oxidative stress plays a role in the pathogenesis of neurofibrillary pathology.

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