Elevated Red Cell to Plasma Choline Ratios in Alzheimer’s Disease

  • J. P. Blass
  • I. Hanin
  • L. Barclay
  • U. Kopp
  • M. J. Reding
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 30)


Alois Alzheimer originally described the disease that bears his name as a form of premature aging and degeneration of the nervous system (1). Since then, most studies have focused on it as a disease of neurones — most recently, of specific populations of large cholinergic neurones in the nucleus basalis and of larger neurons in association cortex (7, 39). In the last five years, however, a number of reports have appeared of abnormalities in non-neural cells from patients with Alzheimer disease (DAT). These include lymphocytes (32, 33, 35), leukocytes (26), cultured skin fibroblasts (2), and red blood cells (3, 13, 15, 23). Four groups have reported that some patients with Alzheimer’s disease have abnormally high levels of choline in their red cells (3, 13, 15, 23). Values were expressed as a ratio of red blood cell to plasma choline, to allow for dietary variation. We now confirm this finding in a prospective, double-blind study of 118 subjects, and discuss the implications of these and other abnormalities in non-neural tissues for the pathophysiology of neuronal cell damage in Alzheimer’s disease.


Tourette Syndrome Culture Skin Fibroblast Neuronal Cell Damage Plasma Choline 2Western Psychiatric Institute 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. P. Blass
    • 1
  • I. Hanin
    • 2
  • L. Barclay
    • 1
  • U. Kopp
    • 2
  • M. J. Reding
    • 1
  1. 1.Altschul Laboratory for Dementia ResearchBurke Rehabilitation CenterWhite PlainsUSA
  2. 2.Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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