Age- and stage-dependent glyoxalase I expression and its activity in normal and Alzheimer's disease brains

Neurobiol Aging. 2007 Jan;28(1):29-41. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2005.11.007. Epub 2006 Jan 19.


The reaction of lysine and arginine residues of proteins with 1,2-dicarbonyl compounds result in the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Accumulation of AGEs is a characteristic feature of the aging brain and contributes to the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Therefore, it is of particular interest to study the cellular defense mechanisms against AGE formation and particularly the detoxification of their precursors. AGE precursor compounds such as methylglyoxal and glyoxal were cellulary detoxified by the glyoxalase system, consisting of glyoxalases I and II. Glyoxalase I levels are diminished in old aged brains but elevated in AD brains. However, it is still unknown how glyoxalase I level of AD brains changes in a disease and in an age-dependent manner. Therefore, we investigated the AD stage- and the age-dependent levels of glyoxalase I in the Brodmann area 22 of AD brains (n=25) and healthy controls (n=10). Our results obtained from RT-PCR reveal reducing glyoxalase I RNA levels with advancing stage of AD and with increasing age. Western Blot analysis indicates that in comparison to healthy controls, glyoxalase I protein amounts are 1.5-fold increased in early AD subjects and continuously decrease in middle and late stages of AD. The glyoxalase I protein amounts of AD patients also decrease with age. Results obtained from glyoxalase I activity measurement show 1.05-1.2-fold diminished levels in AD brains compared to healthy controls and no significant decrease neither with the stage of AD nor with age. The immunohistochemical investigations demonstrate an elevated number of glyoxalase I stained neurons in brains of early and middle but not in late AD subjects compared to age-matched healthy controls. In addition, the stage-dependent immunohistochemical investigation demonstrates that with reduced glyoxalase I staining AGE deposits prevail, specifically in late stage of AD. In conclusion, the decrease of glyoxalase I expression with increasing AD stage might be one reason for methylglyoxal-induced neuronal impairment, apoptosis, and AGE formation in plaques and tangles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / enzymology*
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lactoylglutathione Lyase / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Reference Values


  • Lactoylglutathione Lyase