Increased brain iron coincides with early plaque formation in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Leskovjan, A. C.; Kretlow, A.; Lanzirotti, A.; Barrea, R.; Vogt, S.; Miller, L. M.

Elevated brain iron content, which has been observed in late-stage human Alzheimer's disease, is a potential target for early diagnosis. However, the time course for iron accumulation is currently unclear. Using the PSAPP mouse model of amyloid plaque formation, we conducted a time course study of metal ion content and distribution [iron (Fe), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn)] in the cortex and hippocampus using X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM). We found that iron in the cortex was 34% higher than age-matched controls at an early stage, corresponding to the commencement of plaque formation. The elevated iron was not associated with the amyloid plaques. Interestingly, none of the metal ions were elevated in the amyloid plaques until the latest time point (56weeks), where only the Zn content was significantly elevated by 38%. Since neuropathological changes in human Alzheimer's disease are presumed to occur years before the first cognitive symptoms appear, quantification of brain iron content could be a powerful marker for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

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Leskovjan, A. C. / Kretlow, A. / Lanzirotti, A. / et al: Increased brain iron coincides with early plaque formation in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. 2011.

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