Expression patterns of beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta-APP) in neural and nonneural human tissues from Alzheimer's disease and control subjects

Ann Neurol. 1991 Nov;30(5):686-93. doi: 10.1002/ana.410300509.


Both neural and nonneural human tissues from patients with or without Alzheimer's disease (AD) were surveyed to detect the presence of the beta-amyloid protein and its precursors. This was accomplished using polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies to epitopes in the 695 amino acid long beta-APP (i.e., beta-APP695), as well as in related beta-APPs. Immunoreactivity in beta-APP in brain was prominent in senile plaques, extraneuronal tangles, and neurons. Outside the brain, beta-APP staining was seen in neurons and satellite glial cells of the dorsal root, enteric and trigeminal ganglia, the adeno- and neurohypophysis, megakaryocytes, and adrenal gland in samples from patients with AD and those without AD. Western blots of neocortex revealed three major proteins with apparent molecular masses of 105, 115, and 125 kDa in the insoluble membrane-associated fractions, while two broad bands with a molecular weight centered at about 100 and 120 kDa were detected in soluble fractions. In addition, the pituitary and adrenal glands as well as cardiac muscle revealed prominent immunobands in membrane-associated fractions. Notably, other nonneural tissues were devoid of beta-APP immunoreactivity. Thus, the beta-APPs are detectable only in a limited number of nonneural tissues. Taken together, these data suggest that beta-APPs produced in the brain are sources of beta-APP peptides that accumulate as senile plaques in AD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / biosynthesis*
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C / immunology
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Organ Specificity
  • Peripheral Nerves / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nerves / pathology
  • Viscera / metabolism
  • Viscera / pathology


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins