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April 1989

Brain Gangliosides in Dementia of the Alzheimer Type

Author Affiliations

From the E. N. Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center, Bedford, Mass (Mr Crino, and Drs Ullman, Vogt, and Volicer); Departments of Behavioral Neuroscience (Mr Crino), Psychiatry (Dr Volicer), Anatomy (Dr Vogt), and Pharmacology (Dr Volicer), Boston (Mass) University School of Medicine; and Mailman Research Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont (Dr Bird), Mass.

Arch Neurol. 1989;46(4):398-401. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520400054019

• Gangliosides GM1, GD1a, GD1b, and GT1b were measured in nine brain regions of five patients, clinically and neuropathologically diagnosed as having dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT), and of three control patients. Analysis of variance revealed that mean concentrations of all gangliosides analyzed were significantly lower in DAT than in control brains. The areas affected in DAT included the nucleus basalis, and entorhinal, posterior cingulate, visual, and prefrontal cortices. A significant interaction between ganglioside type and brain area indicated unequal ganglioside concentrations. Individual gangliosides had significantly different concentrations in the hippocampal, entorhinal, posterior cingulate, visual, and prefrontal cortices. Analysis of ratios of "a"-ganglioside (GM1 and GD1a) and "b"-ganglioside (GD1b and GT1b) subtypes indicated that DAT preferentially affected "b"-gangliosides. Ganglioside concentrations in nucleus basalis did not correlate with age at disease onset, age at death, or postmortem interval. Changes in gangliosides, observed in this study, were not correlated with classic DAT neuropathology.

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