Promotion of oxidative lipid membrane damage by amyloid beta proteins. Academic Article uri icon


  • Senile plaques in the cerebral parenchyma are a pathognomonic feature of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and are mainly composed of aggregated fibrillar amyloid beta (Abeta) proteins. The plaques are associated with neuronal degeneration, lipid membrane abnormalities, and chemical evidence of oxidative stress. The view that Abeta proteins cause these pathological changes has been challenged by suggestions that they have a protective function or that they are merely byproducts of the pathological process. This investigation was conducted to determine whether Abeta proteins promote or inhibit oxidative damage to lipid membranes. Using a mass spectrometric assay of oxidative lipid damage, the 42-residue form of Abeta (Abeta42) was found to accelerate the oxidative lipid damage caused by physiological concentrations of ascorbate and submicromolar concentrations of copper(II) ion. Under these conditions, Abeta42 was aggregated, but nonfibrillar. Ascorbate and copper produced H(2)O(2), but Abeta42 reduced H(2)O(2) concentrations, and its ability to accelerate oxidative damage was not affected by catalase. Lipids could be oxidized by H(2)O(2) and copper(II) in the absence of ascorbate, but only at significantly higher concentrations, and Abeta42 inhibited this reaction. These results indicate that the ability of Abeta42 to promote oxidative damage is more potent and more likely to be manifest in vivo than its ability to inhibit oxidative damage. In conjunction with prior results demonstrating that oxidatively damaged membranes cause Abeta42 to misfold and form fibrils, these results suggest a specific chemical mechanism linking Abeta42-promoted oxidative lipid damage to amyloid fibril formation.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Murray, I., Sindoni, M. E., & Axelsen, P. H.

citation count

  • 91

complete list of authors

  • Murray, Ian VJ||Sindoni, Michael E||Axelsen, Paul H

publication date

  • September 2005