The expression of key oxidative stress-handling genes in different brain regions in Alzheimer's disease

Michael Y. Aksenov, H. Michael Tucker, Prakash Nair, Marina V. Aksenova, D. Allan Butterfield, Steven Estus, William R. Markesbery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been hypothesized to be associated with oxidative stress. In this study, the expression of key oxidative stress- handling genes was studied in hippocampus, inferior parietal lobule, and cerebellum of 10 AD subjects and 10 control subjects using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The content of Mn-, Cu,Zn- superoxide dismutases (Mn- and Cu,Zn-SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and glutathione reductase (GSSG-R) mRNAs, and the 'marker genes' (β-actin and cyclophilin) mRNAs was determined. This study suggests that gene responses to oxidative stress can be significantly modulated by the general decrease of transcription in the AD brain. To determine if the particular oxidative stress handling gene transcription was induced or suppressed in AD, the 'oxidative stress-handling gene/β-actin' ratios were quantified and compared with control values in all brain regions studied. The Mn-SOD mRNA/β-actin mRNA ratio was unchanged in all regions of the AD brain studied, but an increase of the Cu,Zn-SOD mRNA/β-actin mRNA ratio was observed in the AD inferior parietal lobule. The levels of peroxidation handling (CAT, GSHPx, and GSSG-R) mRNAs normalized to β-actin mRNA level were elevated in hippocampus and inferior parietal lobule, but not in cerebellum of AD patients, which may reflect the protective gene response to the increased peroxidation in the brain regions showing severe AD pathology. The results of this study suggest that region-specific differences of the magnitude of ROS-mediated injury rather than primary deficits of oxidative stress handling gene transcription are likely to contribute to the variable intensity of neurodegeneration in different areas of AD brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-164
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Paula Thomason for assistance in manuscript preparation and Cecil Runyons for subject demographic data. This work was supported in part by NIH grants AG-10836, AG-05119 and by a grant from the Abercrombie Foundation.


  • Alzheimer's
  • Antioxidant genes
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Oxidative stress
  • ROS
  • Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'The expression of key oxidative stress-handling genes in different brain regions in Alzheimer's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this