Antibodies to Cholinergic Neurons in Alzheimer's Disease

Joab Chapman, Orit Bachar, Amos D. Korczyn, Eliyahu Wertman, Daniel M. Michaelson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with degenerative changes in nuclei of the basal forebrain which provide most of the cholinergic input to the cortex and hippocampus and with a reduction in presynaptic cholinergic parameters in these areas. Although the etiology and pathogenesis of AD are not known, several reports indicate the involvement of immunological mechanisms. In the present work we examined the existence of antibodies in sera of AD patients that bind specifically to cholinergic neurons. As antigens we employed the purely cholinergic electromotor neurons of the electric fish Torpedo which are chemically homogeneous and cross‐react antigenically with human and other mammalian cholinergic neurons. Our findings show that immunoglobulins from sera of AD patients bind to a specific antigen (molecular mass 200 kilo‐daltons) in the cell bodies and axons of Torpedo electromotor neurons and that the levels of such antibodies are significantly higher in AD patients than in controls. The possible role of these antibodies in the cholinergic dysfunction in AD and their diagnostic potential are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-485
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1988


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Antibodies
  • Cholinergic neurons
  • Torpedo


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