Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center

Human Brain Antioxidants During Oxidative Stress

Human Brain Antioxidants During Oxidative Stress

Overall Status: 
Brief Description: 

Antioxidants are natural substances that appear to fight damage caused by molecules called free radicals. As a person ages, free radicals can build up in nerve cells, causing damage that might contribute to Alzheimer's disease. In this study, researchers will measure concentrations of two antioxidants in the brain, ascorbate and glutathione, using a novel method.

Patient Qualifications: 
Min AgeMax AgeGenderHealthy Volunteers
18 Years
89 Years
Accepts Healthy Volunteers
Inclusion Criteria: 
    • Cognitively normal participants: age 18-22 and 70-89 years
    • Participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer's: age 65-89 years, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of 18-26
Exclusion Criteria: 

    All Participants

    • Claustrophobia
    • Implanted metal devices
    • Pregnancy
    • Taking dietary supplements ≥ 5 F+V per day
    • Smoking
    • Depression
    • Poor health or systemic illness
    • Unstable medication usage
    • Psychiatric disorder
    • Substance abuse
    • Use of investigational drugs
    • Inability to complete cognitive tests written for English speakers
    • Inadequate vision or hearing

    Cognitively Normal Participants

    • Medical history or evidence of cognitive problems
    • Neurological problems
    • MMSE score of 26 or lower
Detailed Description: 

In the first phase of this study, brain images and spectra will be obtained for four healthy adults to validate the novel method to be used, called magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

One aim of this study is to measure the levels of two antioxidants, ascorbate and glutathione, in the human brain, specifically in the occipital cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex. Another aim is to determine whether lower levels of glutathione occur under the oxidative stress associated with Alzheimer's disease. Successful completion will determine whether low glutathione concentration in the brain is widespread in older adults and whether it is exacerbated by Alzheimer's disease.

To study normal aging, 18 healthy young (age 18-22 years) and 18 healthy older (age 70-89 years) subjects will be enrolled. To study the second aim, 23 participants with Alzheimer's disease and 23 age-matched controls will be enrolled to study neurodegenerative disease-associated demand on the antioxidant system.

Data measured in subjects with Alzheimer's may advance this powerful new technology toward discovery of an early-stage biomarker.

Map Marker CityStateZip CodeStatusPrimary Contact

Geolocation is 44.9741561, -93.2342

University of Minnesota
Melissa Terpstra
Lead Sponsor: 
University of Minnesota-Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Collaborator Sponsor: 
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Facility Investigators: 
Melissa Terpstra, PhD
Principal Investigator
University of Minnesota-Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Study Contact: 
Melissa Terpstra
Michelle Hartwig
Locations ID 
Official Title: 
Noninvasive Antioxidant Quantification in the Human Brain Under Oxidative Stress
Study Start Date: 
June 2013
Study End Date: 
December 2017
Disease Stage: