William R. Markesbery, MD
Increasing evidence demonstrates that oxidative stress causes damage to cell function with aging and is involved in a number of age-related disorders including atherosclerosis, arthritis, and neurodegenerative disorders. In the neurodegenerative diseases, oxidative stress has been implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, and Alzheimer disease (AD). The neurodegenerative disorder receiving the most attention has been AD, in which an increase occurs in oxidation of brain lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, and DNA. Some of the products in oxidation have been found in the major histopathologic alterations in AD: the neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and senile plaques (reviewed in Markesberry and Carney and Ceballos-Picot. These oxidative modifications are closely associated with a subtle inflammatory process in the brain in AD.