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Gram-negative bacterial molecules associate with Alzheimer disease pathology.

  • Author(s): Zhan, Xinhua
  • Stamova, Boryana
  • Jin, Lee-Way
  • DeCarli, Charles
  • Phinney, Brett
  • Sharp, Frank R
  • et al.
Abstract

Objective

We determined whether Gram-negative bacterial molecules are associated with Alzheimer disease (AD) neuropathology given that previous studies demonstrate Gram-negative Escherichia coli bacteria can form extracellular amyloid and Gram-negative bacteria have been reported as the predominant bacteria found in normal human brains.

Methods

Brain samples from gray and white matter were studied from patients with AD (n = 24) and age-matched controls (n = 18). Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and E coli K99 pili protein were evaluated by Western blots and immunocytochemistry. Human brain samples were assessed for E coli DNA followed by DNA sequencing.

Results

LPS and E coli K99 were detected immunocytochemically in brain parenchyma and vessels in all AD and control brains. K99 levels measured using Western blots were greater in AD compared to control brains (p < 0.01) and K99 was localized to neuron-like cells in AD but not control brains. LPS levels were also greater in AD compared to control brain. LPS colocalized with Aβ1-40/42 in amyloid plaques and with Aβ1-40/42 around vessels in AD brains. DNA sequencing confirmed E coli DNA in human control and AD brains.

Conclusions

E coli K99 and LPS levels were greater in AD compared to control brains. LPS colocalized with Aβ1-40/42 in amyloid plaques and around vessels in AD brain. The data show that Gram-negative bacterial molecules are associated with AD neuropathology. They are consistent with our LPS-ischemia-hypoxia rat model that produces myelin aggregates that colocalize with Aβ and resemble amyloid-like plaques.

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