Heme oxygenase-1 is associated with the neurofibrillary pathology of Alzheimer's disease

Mark A. Smith, R. Krishnan Kutty, Peggy L. Richey, Shi Du Yan, David Stern, Gerald J. Chader, Barbara Wiggert, Robert B. Petersen, George Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

399 Scopus citations


Heme oxygenase-1 is an important enzyme that degrades heme, a pro-oxidant, leading to the formation of antioxidant molecules. In this study we demonstrate by immunocytochemistry close association of heme oxygenase-1 with Alzheimer neurofibrillary pathology and with the neurofibrillary tangles found in progressive supranuclear palsy and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. In Alzheimer's disease, using two different rabbit antisera against heme oxygenase-1 protein, we localized, using immunocytochemical methods, heme oxygenase-1 to neurofibrillary tangles, senile plaque neurites, granulovacuolar degeneration, and neuropil threads. Only light background staining was seen in young controls and sporadic lesion-related immunoreactivity in age-matched controls. The increase in heme oxygenase-1 protein in association with the neurofibrillary pathology of Alzheimer's disease and other diseases characterized by neurofibrillary tangles supports the notion that the generation of free radicals and oxidative stress plays a role in the pathogenesis of neurofibrillary pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1994


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