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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2013, Article ID 414817, 15 pages
Research Article

Role of Copper and Cholesterol Association in the Neurodegenerative Process

1INIBIOLP (Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de La Plata), CCT La Plata, CONICET-UNLP, Cátedra de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 60 y 120 (1900) La Plata, Argentina
2CIC (Centro de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares), CCT La Plata, CONICET-UNLP, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 60 y 120 (1900) La Plata, Argentina

Received 7 July 2013; Revised 5 September 2013; Accepted 5 September 2013

Academic Editor: Rosanna Squitti

Copyright © 2013 Nathalie Arnal 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.


Age is one of the main factors involved in the development of neurological illnesses, in particular, Alzheimer, and it is widely held that the rapid aging of the world population is accompanied by a rise in the prevalence and incidence of Alzheimer disease. However, evidence from recent decades indicates that Cu and Cho overload are emerging causative factors in neurodegeneration, a hypothesis that has been partially investigated in experimental models. The link between these two variables and the onset of Alzheimer disease has opened up interesting new possibilities requiring more in-depth analysis. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate the effect of the association of Cu + Cho (CuCho) as a possible synergistic factor in the development of an Alzheimer-like pathology in Wistar rats. We measured total- and nonceruloplasmin-bound Cu and Cho (free and sterified) contents in plasma and brain zones (cortex and hippocampus), markers of oxidative stress damage, inflammation, and programmed cell death (caspase-3 and calpain isoforms). The ratio beta-amyloid (1-42)/(1-40) was determined in plasma and brain as neurodegenerative biomarker. An evaluation of visuospatial memory (Barnes maze test) was also performed. The results demonstrate the establishment of a prooxidative and proinflammatory environment after CuCho treatment, hallmarked by increased TBARS, protein carbonyls, and nitrite plus nitrate levels in plasma and brain zones (cortex and hippocampus) with a consequent increase in the activity of calpains and no significant changes in caspase-3. A simultaneous increase in the plasma Aβ1-42/Aβ1-40 ratio was found. Furthermore, a slight but noticeable change in visuospatial memory was observed in rats treated with CuCho. We conclude that our model could reflect an initial stage of neurodegeneration in which Cu and Cho interact with one another to exacerbate neurological damage.