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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 987023, 7 pages
Research Article

Influence of Water Quality on Cholesterol-Induced Tau Pathology: Preliminary Data

1Roberts Laboratory for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Sun City, AZ 85351, USA
2Animal Care Program, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, 350 W. Thomas Road., Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA

Received 30 December 2010; Accepted 12 February 2011

Academic Editor: Rosanna Squitti

Copyright © 2011 D. Larry Sparks et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The studies employed the cholesterol-fed rabbit model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) to investigate the relationship between AD-like neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) neuropathology and tau protein levels as the main component of NFT. We measured brain and plasma tau levels and semiquantified NFT-like neuropathology in cholesterol-fed rabbits administered drinking water of varying quality (distilled, tap, and distilled+copper) compared to animals receiving normal chow and local tap water. Total tau levels in plasma were increased in all cholesterol-fed rabbits compared to animals on normal chow, regardless of quality of water. In contrast, increased tau in brain and increased AT8 immunoreactive NFT-like lesions were greatest in cholesterol-fed rabbits administered distilled water. A substantial decrease in brain tau and incidence and density of AT8 immunoreactive NFT-like lesions occurred in cholesterol-fed rabbits administered copper water, and an even greater decrease was observed in cholesterol-fed animals on local tap water. These studies suggest the possibility that circulating tau could be the source of the tau accumulating in the brain.