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Attenuation of A beta deposition in the entorhinal cortex of normal elderly individuals associated with tobacco smoking

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jennifer Court, Mary Johnson, Jessica Keverne, Professor Raj KalariaORCiD, Dr Evelyn Jaros, Professor Ian McKeith, Emeritus Professor Robert Perry, Emeritus Professor Elaine Perry


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Investigating correlates of tobacco smoking provides the only currently available opportunity of examining effects of long-term exposure of nicotinic receptors on a specific nicotinic agonist in human. Alzheimer-type pathology (A beta and abnormally phosphorylated tau assessed on the basis of AT8 immunoreactivity) together with vascular markers has been compared in age-matched groups of normal elderly smokers and non-smokers in the entorhinal cortex, an area of noted age-related pathology. The density of total A beta and diffuse A beta immunoreactivity, together with formic acid-extractable A beta 42 but not A beta 40, was reduced in smokers (n = 10-18) compared with non-smokers (n = 10-20) (P < 0.05). There was also a reduced percentage of cortical and leptomeningeal vessels with associated A beta immunoreactivity in smokers (n = 13) compared with non-smokers (n = 14) (P < 0.005 and 0.05, respectively). There was a significant inverse correlation between formic acid-extractable A beta 42 and pack years (n = 34, r = -0.389, P = 0.025), with a similar trend for total A beta immunoreactivity which did not reach statistical significance (n = 30, r = -0.323, P = 0.082). In contrast, there were no significant group differences for vascular markers (collagen IV, alpha-actin or glucose transporter 1), AT8 immunoreactivity or phosphate-buffered saline-soluble A beta peptides, and no significant associations with gender for any of the measured parameters. These findings are consistent with previously reported reductions in histologically assessed amyloid plaques in aged human brain associated with tobacco use and dramatic lessening of A beta deposits in APPsw mice after nicotine treatment. Development of nicotinic drugs to protect against beta-amyloidosis as one of the principal pathological hallmarks of brain ageing and Alzheimer's disease is indicated.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Court JA, Johnson M, Religa D, Keverne J, Kalaria R, Jaros E, McKeith IG, Perry R, Naslund J, Perry EK

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology

Year: 2005

Volume: 31

Issue: 5

Pages: 522-535

ISSN (print): 0305-1846

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2990


DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.2005.00674.x