Presence of d-alanine in proteins of normal and Alzheimer human brain

Antimo D'Aniello, Amedeo Vetere, George H. Fisher, Gregory Cusano, Mirtha Chavez, Leonard Petrucelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


This report constitutes the first demonstration of the presence of d-alanine in the proteins of the human nervous system. Proteins of the frontal lobe white and gray matter of human brains, both normal and Alzheimer subjects, contain d-alanine at concentrations between 0.50 and 1.28 μmol/g of wet tissue, 50-70-times lower than the concentration of d-alanine. Both white and gray matter of Alzheimer brains contain d-alanine 1.4-times higher than the respective regions of normal brains. The gray matter proteins of Alzheimer brains show a highly significant 8% decrease in total alanine content, when compared with normal brain gray matter proteins. Since Alzheimer's disease is exhibited by deterioration of the gray matter, the occurence of elevated d-alanine levels in the gray matter of Alzheimer brains is a significant discovery and raises the question whether this enantiomer causes the degeneration of the gray matter proteins in Alzheimer's disease, or whether it is an effect of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 2 1992


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Amino acid
  • Human brain
  • Racemization
  • d-Alanine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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