• Open Access

Oxidative damage in cultured human olfactory neurons from Alzheimer's disease patients


George Perry, PhD, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, 2085 Adelbert Road, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA. Tel.: +1 216 368 2488; fax: +1 216 368 8964; e-mail: george.perry@case.edu


Oxidative abnormalities precede clinical and pathological manifestations of Alzheimer's disease and are the earliest pathological changes reported in the disease. The olfactory pathways and mucosa also display the pathological features associated with Alzheimer's disease in the brain. Olfactory neurons are unique because they can undergo neurogenesis and are able to be readily maintained in cell culture. In this study, we examined neuronal cell cultures derived from olfactory mucosa of Alzheimer's disease and control patients for oxidative stress responses. Levels of lipid peroxidation (hydroxynonenal), Nɛ-(carboxymethyl)lysine (glycoxidative and lipid peroxidation), and oxidative stress response (heme oxygenase-1) were measured immunocytochemically. We found increased levels for all the oxidative stress markers examined in Alzheimer's disease neurons as compared to controls. Interestingly, in one case of Alzheimer's disease, we found hydroxynonenal adducts accumulated in cytoplasmic lysosome-like structures in about 20% of neurons cultured, but not in neurons from control patients. These lysosome-like structures are found in about 100% of the vulnerable neurons in brains of cases of Alzheimer's disease. This study suggests that manifestations of oxidative imbalance in Alzheimer's disease extend to cultured olfactory neurons. Primary culture of human olfactory neurons will be useful in understanding the mechanism of oxidative damage in Alzheimer's disease and can even be utilized in developing therapeutic strategies.