Association between frontal cortex oxidative damage and beta-amyloid as a function of age in Down syndrome

Giovanna Cenini, Amy L.S. Dowling, Tina L. Beckett, Eugenio Barone, Cesare Mancuso, Michael Paul Murphy, Harry LeVine, Ira T. Lott, Frederick A. Schmitt, D. Allan Butterfield, Elizabeth Head

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98 Scopus citations


Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability in children, and the number of adults with DS reaching old age is increasing. By the age of 40. years, virtually all people with DS have sufficient neuropathology for a postmortem diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD). Trisomy 21 in DS leads to an overexpression of many proteins, of which at least two are involved in oxidative stress and AD: superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and amyloid precursor protein (APP). In this study, we tested the hypothesis that DS brains with neuropathological hallmarks of AD have more oxidative and nitrosative stress than those with DS but without significant AD pathology, as compared with similarly aged-matched non-DS controls. The frontal cortex was examined in 70 autopsy cases (n = 29 control and n = 41 DS). By ELISA, we quantified soluble and insoluble Aβ40 and Aβ42, as well as oligomers. Oxidative and nitrosative stress levels (protein carbonyls, 4-hydroxy-2- trans-nonenal (HNE)-bound proteins, and 3-nitrotyrosine) were measured by slot-blot. We found that soluble and insoluble amyloid beta peptide (Aβ) and oligomers increase as a function of age in DS frontal cortex. Of the oxidative stress markers, HNE-bound proteins were increased overall in DS. Protein carbonyls were correlated with Aβ40 levels. These results suggest that oxidative damage, but not nitrosative stress, may contribute to the onset and progression of AD pathogenesis in DS. Conceivably, treatment with antioxidants may provide a point of intervention to slow pathological alterations in DS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-138
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from NIH to D.A.B [ AG-05119 ], and to E.H. and F.S [ HD-064993 ]. Additional funding was provided by NIH to the UCI ADRC ( P50 AG16573 ) and to the UK ADC ( P30 AG028383 ). Human tissue obtained from NICHD Brain and Tissue Bank for Developmental Disorders at the University of Maryland , Baltimore, MD, was under contract HHSN275200900011C, Ref. No. N01-HD-9-0011 . This work was also supported in part by a PRIN grant to C.M. and E.B.


  • 3-Nitrotyrosine
  • 4-Hydroxy-2-nonenal
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Oligomer
  • Protein carbonyl
  • Trisomy 21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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