Alterations in the ryanodine receptor calcium release channel correlate with Alzheimer’s disease neurofibrillary and beta-amyloid pathologies.

Investigation of the integrity of the ryanodine receptor in Alzheimer’s disease is important because it plays a critical role in the regulation of calcium release from the endoplasmic reticulum in brain, impairment of which is believed to contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. The present study compared ryanodine receptor levels and their functional modulation in particulate fractions from control and Alzheimer’s disease temporal cortex, occipital cortex and putamen.

Relationships between ryanodine receptor changes and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease pathology were determined by examining autoradiographic [3H]ryanodine binding in entorhinal cortex/anterior hippocampus sections from 22 cases that had been staged for neurofibrillary changes and beta-amyloid deposition. A significant (P < 0.02) 40% decrease in the Bmax for [3H]ryanodine binding and significantly higher IC50 values for both magnesium and Ruthenium Red inhibition of [3H]ryanodine binding were detected in Alzheimer's disease temporal cortex particulate fractions compared to controls. Immunoblot analyses showed Type 2 ryanodine receptor holoprotein levels to be decreased by 20% (P < 0.05) in these Alzheimer's disease cases compared to controls. No significant differences were detected in [3H]ryanodine binding comparing control and Alzheimer's disease occipital cortex or putamen samples.

The autoradiography study detected increased [3H]ryanodine binding in the subiculum, CA2 and CA1 regions in cases with early (stage I-II) neurofibrillary pathology when compared to Stage 0 cases. Analysis of variance of data with respect to the different stages of neurofibrillary pathology revealed significant stage-related declines of [3H]ryanodine binding in the subiculum (P < 0.02) with trends towards significant decreases in CA1, CA2 and CA4. Post-hoc testing with Fisher's PLSD showed significant reductions (74-94%) of [3H]ryanodine binding in the subiculum, and CA1-CA4 regions of the late isocortical stage (V-VI) cases compared to the early entorhinal stage I-II cases. [3H]Ryanodine binding also showed significant declines with staging for beta-amyloid deposition in the entorhinal cortex (P < 0.01) and CA4 (P < 0.05) with trends towards a significant decrease in the dentate gyrus.

We conclude that alterations in ryanodine receptor binding and function are very early events in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, and may be fundamental to the progression of both neurofibrillary and beta-amyloid pathologies.

Source: Neuroscience 1999;92(2):499-513

PMID: 10408600, UI: 99335085

(Department of Biochemistry, University College, Lee Maltings, Prospect Row, Cork, Ireland.)

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