Brain Messenger RNA in Alzheimer’s Disease

  • M. R. Morrison
  • W. S. T. Griffin
  • C. L. WhiteIII
Part of the Topics in the Neurosciences book series (TNSC, volume 3)


The lack of available animal models for most neurological diseases restricts analysis of neuropathology to postmortem human brain. The ability to quantitate alterations in specific mRNA levels in postmortem brain would better define the neuropathology with respect to brain region and to specific transcriptional or post-transcriptional changes. We have shown that postmortem mRNA degradation is essentially random, thus allowing meaningful quantitation of relative mRNA levels. Preliminary results suggest that analysis of mRNA content in individual cells by in situ hybridization is also feasible. We have found that RNA isolated from Alzheimer’s brain is much more susceptible to degradation during the initial stages of isolation than is RNA from control brain. This is true for areas of the brain with both a low and a high content of plaques and tangles. This susceptibility to degradation cannot be explained by alterations in the levels of free or bound alkaline RNase, suggesting that the intracellular distribution of active RNases, rather than their absolute levels, may be altered. When care is taken to minimize RNase action during RNA isolation, the levels of total RNA and translationally active mRNA from both uninvolved and involved areas of Alzheimer’s brain are similar to control values.


Control Brain Translation Product Postmortem Interval Postmortem Human Brain Inferior Temporal Cortex 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishing 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. R. Morrison
    • 1
  • W. S. T. Griffin
    • 2
  • C. L. WhiteIII
    • 3
  1. 1.Departments of NeurologyUniversity of TexasDallasUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Cell BiologyUniversity of TexasDallasUSA
  3. 3.Departments of PathologyUniversity of TexasDallasUSA

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