Neurochemical Changes in White Matter of Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

  • L. Svennerholm
  • C-G. Gottfries
  • I. Karlsson
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 142)


Most of the elderly persons with dementia belong to a group with changes in the brain which are considered characteristic for Alzheimer’s disease. It was in 1907 that Alzheimer described the autopsy findings in a woman who died at 55 with progressive dementia and in whom abnormal nerve cells contained tangles of fibers (neurofibrillary tangles) and clusters of degenerating nerve endings (neuritic plaques) in the cerebral cortex. This condition was then considered to be Alzheimer’s disease a cause of presenile dementia (AD). For many decades Alzheimer’s disease was considered an entity clearly delineated from the more common disease senile dementia, although similar microscopical changes occurred in the two categories. In the early I960’s Kidd (1963) and Terry et al. (1964) demonstrated identical ultrastructural changes in the brains of elderly persons with presenile and senile dementia and since then also senile dementia has been included in the entity Alzheimer’s disease (AD/SDAT).


White Matter Sialic Acid Neurofibrillary Tangle Senile Dementia Neuritic Plaque 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alzhemier, 1907, Uber eine eigenartige Erkrankung der Hirnrinde, All.Z. Psyciatr., 64: 146–8.Google Scholar
  2. Bowen, D. M., Smith, C. B., Davidson, A. N., 1973, Molecular changes in senile dementia, Brain, 96: 849–856.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowen, D. M., Smith, C. B., White, P., Flack, R. H. A., Carrasco, L., Gedye, J. L., Davison, A. N., 1977, Chemical pathology of the organic dementias II. Quantitative estimation of cellular changes in postmortem brains, Brain, 100: 427–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brun, A., 1982, Alzheimers’s disease and its clinical implications, in: “Geriatrics”, D. Platt, ed., Springer-Verlag Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  5. Brun, A., Englund, E., 1985, A white matter disorder in dementia of the Alzheimer type: A pathoanatomical study, Ann.Neurol., 19: 253–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Englund, E., Brun, A., 1981, Senile dementia — a structural basis for etiological and therapheutic considerations, in: “Biological Psychiatry”, C. Perns, G. Struwe, B. Jansson, eds., Elsevier North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  7. Fewster, M. E., Burns, B. J., Mead, J. E., 1969, Quantitative densitometric thin-layer chromatography of lipids using copper acetate reagent, J.Chromatogr., 43: 120–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gottfries, C. G., Adolfsson, R., Aquilonius, S. M., Carlsson, A., Eckernäs, S. A., Nordberg, A., Oreland, L., Svennerholm, L., Wiberg, A., Winblad, B., 1983, Biochemical changes in dementia disorders of Alzheimer type (AD/SDAT), Neurobiol.Aging., 4: 261–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gottfries, C. G., Karlsson, I., Svennerholm, L., 1985, Senile dementia — A “white matter” disease? in: “Normal Aging, Alzheimer’s Disease and Senile Dementia”, C. G. Gottfries, ed., Editions de l’Université Bruxelles, Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  10. Janota, I., 1981, Dementia, deep white matter damage and hypertension: Binswanger’s disease, Psychological Medicine, 11: 39–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Karlsson, I., Svennerholm, L., 1978, Biochemical development of rat fore-brains in severe protein and essential fatty acid deficiencies, J.Neurochem., 31: 657–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kidd, M., 1963, Paired helical filaments in electron microscopy of Alzheimer’s disease presenile dementia, Nature, 197: 192–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Malone, M. J., Szoke, M. C., 1985, Neurochemical changes in white matter. Aged human brain and Alzheimer’s disease, Arch.Neurol., 42: 1063–1066.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McKhann, G., Drachman, D., Folstein, M., Katzman, R., Price, D., Stadlan, E. M., 1984, Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: report of the NINCDS-ADRDA work group under the auspices of Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease, Neurology(NY), 34: 939–944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Norton, W. T., Poduslo, S. E., 1973, Myelination in rat brain: method of myelin isolation, J.Neurochem., 21: 749–757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Sjögren, H., Sourander, P., Svennerholm, L., Clinical, histological and chemical studies on presenile and senile neurophsychiatric disease, Excerpta Medica Proc. V. Intern. Congr. Neuropathol. Zürich 1965.Google Scholar
  17. Svennerholm, L., 1957, Quantitative estimation of Sialic Acids. II. A colorimetric resorcinol-hydrochloric acid method, Biochim.Biophys. Acta, 24: 604–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Svennerholm, L., Vanier, M. T., 1972, The distibution of lipids in the human nervous system. II. Lipid composition of human fetal and infant brain, Brain Res., 47:457: 468.Google Scholar
  19. Svennerholm, L., Fredman, P., 1980, A procedure for the quantitative isolation of brain gangliosides, Biochem.Biophys., 617: 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Terry, R. D., Gonatas, N. K., Weiss, M., 1964, Ultrastructural studies in Alzheimer’s presenile dementia, Am.J.Pathol., 44: 269–297.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Svennerholm
    • 1
  • C-G. Gottfries
    • 1
  • I. Karlsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry NeurochemistryGothenburg UniversityHisings BackaSweden

Personalised recommendations