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In confirmed late-onset (>65 years) Alzheimer's disease, we found a greater load, both of overall neuritic plaques and of cholinesterase-positive neuritic plaques, in the temporal cortex of carriers of the butyrylcholinesterase K variant (BCHE-K) aged <80 years than of all other patients. The differences were most striking in the case of cholinesterase-positive neuritic plaques. Among BCHE-K carriers, densities of such plaques were over six times higher in patients <80 years at death than in those >80 years (P=0.01). Furthermore, in subjects <80 years, BCHE-K carriers had nearly six-fold greater densities of these plaques than non-carriers (P=0.009). We consider three potential explanations for these findings: that the K variant binds more readily to plaque constituents, that it promotes fibril formation or that it induces aberrant neurite growth.


Journal article


Hum Genet

Publication Date





447 - 452


Age of Onset, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Alzheimer Disease, Butyrylcholinesterase, Humans, Plaque, Amyloid, Point Mutation, Temporal Lobe