Year of Publication


Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Mark A. Lovell


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive, irreversible, neurodegenerative disease. The key to understanding AD is to elucidate the pathogenesis of neuron degeneration in specific brain regions.We hypothesize that there is increased DNA oxidation in AD brain compared to age-matched control subjects, especially in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and that the changes in DNA bases will affect protein expression in mitochondria and contribute to neurodegeneration in AD. To test this hypothesis:1) We quantified multiple oxidized bases in nuclear DNA (nDNA) and mtDNA of frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes and cerebellum from late-stage AD (LAD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and age-matched control subjects using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry with selective ion monitoring (GC/MS-SIM). Also, we quantified oxidized DNA bases in cortex of APP/PS1 transgenic mice. (a) nDNA and mtDNA were extracted from eight LAD and eight control subjects. We found levels of multiple oxidized bases were significantly higher in frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes and that mtDNA had approximately 10-fold higher levels of oxidized bases than nDNA. Eight-hydroxyguanine was approximately 10-fold higher than other oxidized base adducts in both LAD and control subjects. These results suggest that oxidative damage to mtDNA may contribute to the neurodegeneration of AD. (b) Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), the phase between normal aging and early dementia, is a common problem in the elderly with many subjects going on to develop AD. Results from eight amnestic MCI and six control subjects suggest oxidative damage to DNA occurs in the earliest detectable phase of AD. (c) Analysis of nDNA from the cortex of four groups (3m, 6m, 9m, 12m) of APP/PS1 and wild type mice showed elevations of 8-hydroxyguanine in 12 month old APP/PS1 mice.2) To analyze mitochondrial protein changes in LAD, 2D gels were run to separate proteins and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry was used to identify proteins.Five mitochondrial proteins were significantly decreased in LAD. This proteomic study provides a proteome map of mitochondria in LAD brain and an insight into the pathogenesis of neuron degeneration in Alzheimer's disease.