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June 1989

Lateralization of Brain Morphologic and Cholinergic Abnormalities in Alzheimer's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (Dr Zubenko and Ms Kopp), the Department of Psychiatry (Dr Zubenko and Ms Kopp), and the Division of Neuropathology, Department of Pathology (Drs Moossy, Martinez, and Rao), University of Pittsburgh (Pa) School of Medicine; the Department of Biological Sciences, Mellon Institute, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa (Dr Zubenko); and the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University, Maywood, Ill (Dr Hanin).

Arch Neurol. 1989;46(6):639-642. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520420059023

• The extent of left-right asymmetry in the densities of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles and the levels of the cholinergic enzymes choline acetyltransferase and acetylcholinesterase were quantified in the middle frontal and superior temporal cerebral cortex, entorhinal cortex, and prosubiculum of the hippocampus from 21 patients who died with Alzheimer's disease. Morphologic lesions were more asymmetrically distributed than deficits in the cholinergic enzymes. Neither cerebral hemisphere showed consistently higher densities of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, or lower levels of choline acetyltransferase and acetylcholinesterase. Deficits in the cholinergic enzymes tended to colateralize, while asymmetries of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles did not. Finally, left-right asymmetry in the density of senile plaques diminished with increasing neuropathologic severity, while similar evidence for diminishing left-right asymmetry of neurofibrillary tangle density or cholinergic enzyme activity with increasing severity was not found.

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