Biochemical and biophysical research communications

beta-Amyloid peptide free radical fragments initiate synaptosomal lipoperoxidation in a sequence-specific fashion: implications to Alzheimer's disease.

PMID 8179604


We have previously reported (Hensley et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (1994) in press) that beta-amyloid peptide fragments in aqueous media, in a metal-independent reaction, produce reactive peptide free radicals and reactive oxygen species. In contrast to the hours or days necessary to produce neurotoxicity and a detectable free radical for beta-amyloid, the extremely neurotoxic A beta(25-35) fragment of beta-amyloid peptide produces a detectable radical in minutes. We now report that A beta(25-35) is a potent lipoperoxidation initiator, as inferred from peptide-mediated reduction of nitroxyl stearate spin labels bound to rodent neocortical synaptosomal membranes. A beta(25-35) rapidly quenches the paramagnetism of membrane-bound 12-nitroxyl stearate spin probe deep within the lipid bilayer, but reacts poorly with the 5-nitroxyl isomer whose paramagnetic center is near the lipid/water interface. A beta(35-25), the non-neurotoxic reverse sequence of A beta(25-35), shows little proclivity to reduce either spin label. These findings are formulated into a "molecular shrapnel" model of neuronal membrane damage in Alzheimer's disease.