Family study of platelet membrane fluidity in Alzheimer's disease

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Science  23 Oct 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4826, pp. 539-542
DOI: 10.1126/science.3659926


The fluorescence anisotropy of 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene in labeled platelet membranes, an index of membrane fluidity, identifies a prominent subgroup of patients with Alzheimer's disease who manifest distinct clinical features. In a family study, the prevalence of this platelet membrane abnormality was 3.2 to 11.5 times higher in asymptomatic, first-degree relatives of probands with Alzheimer's disease than in neurologically healthy control subjects chosen without regard to family history of dementia. The pattern of the platelet membrane abnormality within families was consistent with that of a fully penetrant autosomal dominant trait. Thus, this abnormality of platelet membranes may be an inherited factor that is related to the development of Alzheimer's disease.