Dominant and differential deposition of distinct beta-amyloid peptide species, A beta N3(pE), in senile plaques

Neuron. 1995 Feb;14(2):457-66. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(95)90301-1.


We analyzed an amino-terminal modification of beta-amyloid (A beta) peptide in brain, using anti-A beta antibodies that distinguish distinct molecular species. Examination of cortical sections from 28 aged individuals with a wide range in senile plaque density revealed that a molecular species distinct from the standard A beta is deposited in the brain in a dominant and differential manner. This modified A beta peptide (A beta N3(pE)) starts at the 3rd aminoterminal residue of the standard A beta, glutamate, converted to pyroglutamate through intramolecular dehydration. Because plaques composed of A beta N3(pE) are present in equivalent or greater densities than those composed of standard A beta bearing the first amino-terminal residue (A beta N1) and because deposition of the former species appears to precede deposition of the latter, as confirmed with specimens from Down's syndrome patients, the processes involved in A beta N3(pE) production and retention may play an early and critical role in senile plaque formation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / analysis*
  • Antibodies
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Down Syndrome / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune Sera
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligopeptides / chemical synthesis
  • Oligopeptides / immunology
  • Organ Specificity


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Antibodies
  • Immune Sera
  • Oligopeptides