Antioxidant enzymatic activities in alzheimer's disease: The relationship to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors

Anthony Klugman, Declan P. Naughton, Mokhtar Isaac, Iltaf Shah, Andrea Petroczi, Naji Tabet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The mode of action of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is mainly by potentiating neuronal transmission. Animal studies have also consistently described a role for AChEIs in enhancement of antioxidants and attenuation of oxidative stress. The influence of AChEIs on blood antioxidants in AD patients has not been established before. Furthermore, AChEI treatment, or lack of it, may have contributed to the inconsistent antioxidant data reported by other studies so far. Here we sought to investigate the potential modulation effect of AChEIs on blood antioxidants in AD patients. Catalase (CAT) and glutathione reductase (GR) activities were analyzed in 25 drug naïve patients (Group A), 43 patients receiving AChEIs (Group B) and 34 cognitively unimpaired controls (Group C). A statistically significant difference for CAT and GR was observed between the two AD groups (A and B) when compared to the control group C (KW-H = 36.530, p < 0.001; post hoc tests p < 0.001 and KW-H = 37.814, p < 0.001; post hoc tests p < 0.001, respectively). In contrast, CAT and GR activities did not differ significantly between the two AD groups, and were not influenced by AChEI treatment. Hence, these results do not replicate the extensively reported data from animal studies and question whether AChEI efficacy in AD is mediated by processes beyond neuron to neuron enhancement of transmission. Studies assessing a wider range of oxidative/inflammatory markers taking into account type, dosage, and treatment duration of the various acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are now needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-474
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • antioxidants
  • catalase
  • glutathione reductase
  • oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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