Copper, iron and zinc in Alzheimer's disease senile plaques

M. A. Lovell, J. D. Robertson, W. J. Teesdale, J. L. Campbell, W. R. Markesbery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1901 Scopus citations


Concentrations of copper (Cu), iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) were measured in the rims and cores of senile plaques (SP) and in the neuropil of the amygdala of nine Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and in the neuropil of the amygdala of five neurologically normal control subjects using micro particle-induced X-ray emission (micro-PIXE). Comparison of SP rim and core values revealed no significant differences between levels of Cu, Fe or Zn. Zinc and Fe in SP rims and cores were significantly elevated in AD compared with AD neuropil (P<0.05). Copper was significantly elevated (P<0.05) in the rim of SP compared with AD neuropil. Comparison of AD and control neuropil revealed a significant (P<0.05) elevation of Zn in AD subjects. The elevation of these elements in SP in AD is of interest in light of the observation that Cu, Fe and particularly Zn, can accelerate aggregation of amyloid beta peptide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 11 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to express their appreciation to Ms Ela Patel for tissue sectioning and immunostaining, to Ms Paula Thomason, Mr Brian Hallahan, and Mr Don Rightmyer for assistance in manuscript preparation and to Mr Stuart Ryan for his assistance in sample preparation. Funding for this work was provided in part by NIH grants 2-PO1-AG05119, 5-P50 AG0514 and by a grant from the Abercrombie Foundation.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Micro-PIXE analysis
  • Senile plaques
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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