BACE1 mRNA Expression in Alzheimer's Disease Postmortem Brain Tissue

David Coulson, Nancy Beyer, Joseph Quinn, Simon Brockbank, J. Hellemans, Brent Irvine, Rivka Ravid, Janet Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


ß-site AßPP cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) catalyses the rate-limiting step for production of amyloid-ß (Aß) peptides, involved in the pathological cascade underlying Alzheimer's disease (AD). Elevated BACE1 protein levels and activity have been reported in AD postmortem brains. Our study explored whether this was due to elevated BACE1 mRNA expression. RNA was prepared from five brain regions in three study groups: controls, individuals with AD, and another neurodegenerative disease group affected by either Parkinson's disease (PD) or dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). BACE1 mRNA levels were measured using quantitative realtime PCR (qPCR) and analyzed by qbasePLUS using validated stably-expressed reference genes. Expression of glial and neuronal markers (glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and neuron-specific enolase (NSE), respectively) were also analyzed to quantify the changing activities of these cell populations in the tissue. BACE1 mRNA levels were significantly elevated in medial temporal and superior parietal gyri, compared to the PD/DLB and/or control groups. Superior frontal gryus BACE1 mRNA levels were significantly increased in the PD/DLB group, compared to AD and control groups. For the AD group, BACE1 mRNA changes were analyzed in the context of the reduced NSE mRNA, and strongly increased GFAP mRNA levels apparent as AD progressed (indicated by Braak stage). This analysis suggested that increased BACE1 mRNA expression in remaining neuronal cells may contribute to the increased BACE1 protein levels and activity found in brain regions affected by AD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1122
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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