Review: Alzheimer's amyloid β-peptide-associated free radical oxidative stress and neurotoxicity

Sridhar Varadarajan, Servet Yatin, Marina Aksenova, D. Allan Butterfield

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

679 Scopus citations


Alzheimer's disease, the major dementing disorder of the elderly that affects over 4 million Americans, is related to amyloid β-peptide, the principal component of senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease brain. Oxidative stress, manifested by protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation, among other alterations, is a characteristic of Alzheimer's disease brain. Our laboratory united these two observations in a model to account for neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease brain, the amyloid β-peptide-associated oxidative stress model for neurotoxicity in Alzheimer's disease. Under this model, the aggregated peptide, perhaps in concert with bound redox metal ions, initiates free radical processes resulting in protein oxidation, lipid peroxidation, reactive oxygen species formation, cellular dysfunction leading to calcium ion accumulation, and subsequent neuronal death. Free radical antioxidants abrogate these findings. This review outlines the substantial evidence from multiidisciplinary approaches for amyloid β-peptide-associated free radical oxidative stress and neurotoxicity and protection against these oxidative processes and cell death by free radical scavengers. In addition, we review the strong evidence supporting the notion that the single methionine residue of amyloid β-peptide is vital to the oxidative stress and neurotoxicological properties of this peptide. Further, we discuss studies that support the hypothesis that aggregated soluble amyloid β-peptide and not fibrils per se are necessary for oxidative stress and neurotoxicity associated with amyloid β-peptide. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-208
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from the NIH (AG-05119; AG-10836; AG-12435). We thank past and current graduate students for their significant contributions to our understanding of Aβ-associated oxidative stress, and we thank Professors William Markesbery and Mark Mattson for many useful discussions.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR)
  • Fibrils
  • Free radicals
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Protein oxidation
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Spin-trapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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