Decreased plasma iron in Alzheimer's disease is due to transferrin desaturation

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Journal Article
ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 2015, 6 (3), pp. 398 - 402
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© 2015 American Chemical Society. Plasma iron levels are decreased in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and associated with an idiopathic anemia. We examined iron-binding plasma proteins from AD patients and healthy controls from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) Flagship Study of Ageing using size exclusion chromatography-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Peak area corresponding to transferrin (Tf) saturation was directly compared to routine pathological testing. We found a significant decrease in transferrin-associated iron in AD that was missed by routine pathological tests of transferrin saturation, and that was able to discriminate between AD and controls. The AD cases showed no significant difference in transferrin concentration, only a decrease in total transferrin-bound iron. These findings support that a previously identified decrease in plasma iron levels in AD patients within the AIBL study is attributable to decreased loading of iron into transferrin, and that this subtle but discriminatory change is not observed through routine pathological testing.
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