Decreased catalase activity but unchanged superoxide dismutase activity in brains of patients with dementia of Alzheimer type.
: “Oxidative stress” may be of significance in the etiopathogenesis of dementia of Alzheimer type (DAT). Therefore, we measured activities of the enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), which detoxicate reactive oxygen species. Enzyme activities were measured postmortem in basal ganglia, cortical, and limbic brain regions of patients with DAT and age-matched controls. SOD activity increased with age in basal nucleus of Meynert. However, there was no significant difference in SOD activity between DAT and controls. CAT activity was independent of age and postmortem time. There were significant reductions in CAT activity in parietotemporal cortex, basal ganglia, and amygdala in DAT compared with controls (p < 0.05 to 0.01). Our findings are in line with the assumption that reactive oxygen species could contribute to the pathogenesis of DAT. Absence of these changes in basal nucleus of Meynert might reflect retrograde degeneration of cholinergic fibers.