Myeloperoxidase (MPO) is a myeloid-specific enzyme that generates hypochlorous acid and other reactive oxygen species. MPO is present at high levels in circulating neutrophils and monocytes but is not detectable in microglia, brain-specific macrophages, in normal brain tissue. However, an earlier study indicated that MPO is present in macrophage-microglia at multiple sclerosis lesions, suggesting that reactivation of MPO gene expression may play a role in neurodegenerative diseases involving macrophage-microglia. In the present study, MPO is shown to colocalize with amyloid beta (Abeta) in senile plaques in cerebral cortex sections from Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain tissue. Microglia costaining for MPO and CD68 are closely associated with plaques, suggesting that plaque components induce MPO expression in microglia. In support of this interpretation, treatment of rodent microglia with aggregated Abeta(1-42) was shown to induce MPO mRNA expression. Also, the ApoE4 allele, the major AD risk factor associated with increased Abeta deposition, was shown to correlate with increased MPO deposition in plaques (P = 0.01, ANOVA). Finally, a genetic polymorphism links MPO expression to Alzheimer's risk, in that a higher expressing SpSp MPO genotype was associated with increased incidence of AD in females, and decreased incidence in males (P = 0.006). These findings suggest that the MPO polymorphism is a gender-specific risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.