Distribution of cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2 mRNAs and proteins in human brain and peripheral organs

Brain Res. 1999 Jun 5;830(2):226-36. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(99)01389-x.


We used the techniques of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry to evaluate the expression of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and -2 in brain and peripheral organs of Alzheimer disease (AD) and control cases. We found both COX-1 and COX-2 to be constitutively expressed in all organs tested, i.e., brain, heart, liver, kidney, spleen and intestine. COX-2 was substantially upregulated in affected areas of AD brain and in infarcted areas of human heart. COX-1 was only mildly upregulated in AD brain. Immunohistochemically, COX-2 was strongly expressed in the perinuclear, dendritic and axonal areas of pyramidal neurons, with enhanced staining in AD. These data suggest a special role for COX-2 in neuronal function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Humans
  • Intestines / chemistry
  • Isoenzymes / genetics*
  • Kidney / chemistry
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardium / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / genetics*
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Spleen / chemistry


  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS1 protein, human
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases