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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The presence of isoaspartic acid in beta-amyloid plaques indicates plaque age.

Extracellular deposits of fibrillar beta-amyloid are a characteristic neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We have developed a novel antibody to a hypothesized "older isomer" of the amyloid protein. This antibody, raised against a synthetic beta-amyloid peptide containing isoaspartic acid at position 7 (isoaspartic-7-Abeta), reacts with isoaspartic-7-Abeta, a nonenzymatic modification found in long-lived proteins. Plaques stained with this antibody are thioflavine positive and are found throughout the frontal and entorhinal cortices of AD cases. In frontal cortex, isoaspartic-7-Abeta plaques are clustered but have a widespread distribution in all cortical layers. Isoaspartic-7-Abeta is found primarily in the core of individual plaques surrounded by nonisomerized amyloid. Activated microglia are associated with plaques containing isomerized and nonisomerized amyloid. In contrast to AD, isoaspartic-7-Abeta plaques in Down's syndrome (DS) cases are found primarily in the superficial layers of frontal cortex. Using image analysis isoaspartic-7-Abeta deposition was correlated with dementia severity in AD and with age in DS. The results indicate that this antibody against altered aspartyl amyloid could be a useful indicator of the age of amyloid plaques.[1]


  1. The presence of isoaspartic acid in beta-amyloid plaques indicates plaque age. Fonseca, M.I., Head, E., Velazquez, P., Cotman, C.W., Tenner, A.J. Exp. Neurol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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