Decreased trkA neurotrophin receptor expression in the parietal cortex of patients with Alzheimer's disease.


Journal Article

The cholinergic neurons of the basal forebrain system are sensitive to nerve growth factor (NGF), a member of the neurotrophin gene family. Since the cholinergic system is affected early in the course of Alzheimer's disease (AD), it was hypothesized that a deficit in NGF, e.g. reduced neurotrophin uptake by specific receptors, may play a role in neuronal cell death in AD. We quantitated mRNA levels of neurotrophins (NGF, BDNF, NT-3, NT-4/5) and their receptors (trkA, trkB, trkC, p75) in AD postmortem parietal cortex (n = 16) and cerebellum (n = 11). We applied highly sensitive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in rapid autopsy derived brain tissue (mean postmortem delay 147+/-96 min., n = 53) to minimize postmortem mRNA variations. In the AD parietal cortex trkA mRNA levels were more than two times lower as compared to controls (n = 16, mean+/-SEM 0.26+/-0.07 units/S12, range, 0-1.78, and n = 11, 0.59+/-0.10 units/S12, range, 0.17-1.10, respectively, P = 0.015). TrkA mRNA levels did not appear to be altered in the AD cerebellum as compared to normal human cerebellum. NGF, BDNF, NT-3, NT-4/5, as well as trkB, trkC and p75 mRNA levels were unchanged in AD parietal cortex and cerebellum as compared to controls. This finding suggests that a reduced expression of the trkA receptor may contribute to impaired NGF-trkA signalling and a reduced transport of NGF in cholinergic neurons. These results reveal a central specific role of the high affinity NGF receptor during neurodegeneration in AD.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Hock, C; Heese, K; Müller-Spahn, F; Hulette, C; Rosenberg, C; Otten, U

Published Date

  • January 30, 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 241 / 2-3

Start / End Page

  • 151 - 154

PubMed ID

  • 9507943

Pubmed Central ID

  • 9507943

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0304-3940


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Ireland