Complement activation in very early Alzheimer disease

H. Zanjani, C. E. Finch, C. Kemper, J. Atkinson, D. McKeel, J. C. Morris, J. L. Price*

*Corresponding author for this work
87 Citations (Scopus)


The activation of the classical complement (C)-system in early-stage Alzheimer disease (AD) and nondemented aging was examined with immunohistochemistry in subjects assessed by the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR). Activation (staining for C3 and C4 fragments) was found in all brains with amyloid deposits, including all nondemented (CDR 0) cases, with either small numbers of diffuse plaques or with sufficient plaques and tangles to indicate preclinical AD. Staining for C3 and C4 increased in parallel with plaque density in very mild to severe clinical AD. A subset of very mild AD (CDR 0.5) cases also showed C1q (on plaques) and C5b-9 (on neuritic plaques and tangles), whereas these C-fragments were consistently found in severe AD (CDR 3). Mirror section (split-face) analysis showed that C1q, C3, and apoJ (clusterin) occurred on the same plaques. However, C-system regulators CD59, CR1, DAF, and MCP were not detected on plaques or tangles at any stage, indicating that C-activation related to AD is incompletely controlled.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAlzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)55-66
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 04.2005

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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