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Australian Journal of Chemistry Australian Journal of Chemistry Society
An international journal for chemical science

Metal-Catalyzed Oxidative Damage and Oligomerization of the Amyloid-β Peptide of Alzheimer’s Disease

Feda E. A. Ali, Kevin J. Barnham, Colin J. Barrow and Frances Separovic

Australian Journal of Chemistry 57(6) 511 - 518
Published: 02 June 2004


The most common form of dementia in old age is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The presence in the brain of senile plaque is the major pathological marker of AD. The plaques are primarily composed of aggregated amyloid-β peptide (Aβ). Aβ is a 40–42 amino acid peptide that is a proteolytic product derived from the β-amyloid precursor protein. The function of Aβ and the exact mechanism of Aβ aggregation and neurotoxicity are unclear. However, metal coordination by Aβ plays an important role in inducing aggregation and the generation of reactive oxygen species, which appears to be at least partially responsible for Aβ neurotoxicity. In this review we examine the role of copper and zinc ions in Aβ neurotoxicity, especially with regards to the generation of free radicals. We discuss the role of copper or zinc ions in oxidative damage and Aβ conformational changes and the relationship of these metals to AD.

© CSIRO 2004

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