Carboxy terminal of β-amyloid deposits in aged human, canine, and polar bear brains

Tina L. Tekirian, Gregory M. Cole, Michael J. Russell, Fushen Yang, David R. Wekstein, Ela Patel, David A. Snowdon, William R. Markesbery, James W. Geddes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Immunocytochemistry, using antibodies specific for different carboxy termini of β-amyloid, Aβ40 and Aβ42(43), was used to compare β-amyloid deposits in aged animal models to nondemented and demented Alzheimer's disease human cases. Aged beagle dogs exhibit diffuse plaques in the absence of neurofibrillary pathology and the aged polar bear brains contain diffuse plaques and PHF-1-positive neurofibrillary tangles. The brains of nondemented human subjects displayed abundant diffuse plaques, whereas tile AD cases had both diffuse and mature (cored) neuritic plaques. Diffuse plaques were positively immunostained with an antibody against Aβ42(43) in all examined species, whereas Aβ40 immunopositive mature plaques were observed only in the human brain. Anti-Aβ40 strongly immunolabeled cerebrovascular β-amyloid deposits in each of the species examined, although some deposits in the polar bear brain were preferentially labeled with anti-Aβ42(43). β-Amyloid deposition was evident in the outer molecular layer of the dentate gyrus in the aged dog, polar bear, and human. Within this layer, Aβ42 was present as diffuse deposits, although these deposits were morphologically distinct in each of the examined animal models. In dogs, Aβ42 was cloud-like in nature; the polar bear demonstrated a more aggregated type of deposition, and the nondemented human displayed well-defined deposits. Alzheimer's disease cases were most frequently marked by neuritic plaques in this region. Taken together, the data indicate that β-amyloid deposition in aged mammals is similar to the earliest stages observed in human brain. In each species, Aβ42(43) is the initially deposited isoform in diffuse plaques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-257
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Athena Neurosciences for the 10D5 antibody, Dr. Sharon Greenberg for the PHF-I antibody, and Dr. Steven Estus for helpful discussions and comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by NIH Grants AG9009 and AGI125 (G.M.C.); AG10678 (J.W.G.); AG10678 (M.J.R.); AG05144 and AG05119 (W.R.M.); AG09862 and AG00553 (D.A.S.).


  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Polar bears
  • β-Amyloid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Aging
  • General Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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