Decreased Expression of Sulfatase 2 in the Brains of Alzheimer's Disease Patients: Implications for Regulation of Neuronal Cell Signaling

Rosebud O. Roberts, Yoo Na Kang, Chunling Hu, Catherine D. Moser, Shaoqing Wang, Michael J. Moore, Rondell P. Graham, Jin Ping Lai, Ronald C. Petersen, Lewis R. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: The human sulfatase 1 (SULF1) and sulfatase 2 (SULF2) genes modulate cell signaling and homeostasis in many tissues. Gene expression analyses have implicated SULF2 in disease pathogenesis, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), but changes in brain SULF2 expression have not been directly established. Objective: To investigate the expression of SULF1 and SULF2 in brain tissues from AD cases and cognitively normal controls. Methods: Autopsy tissue from AD cases (n = 20) and age-and gender-matched cognitively normal controls (n = 20) were identified from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Patient Registry neuropathology database. Tissue slides were stained for SULF1 and SULF2 protein expression in the hippocampus and frontal lobe and an expression score computed from the proportion of cells stained and the intensity of staining (range 0 [no expression] to 9 [marked expression]). Results: SULF2 expression was reduced in AD cases. Compared to cognitively normal controls, SULF2 expression in AD cases was significantly decreased in the hippocampal Cornu Ammonis (CA) (mean score of 6.5 in cases versus 8.3 in controls; p = 0.003), in the gray matter of the parahippocampal gyrus (5.6 in cases versus 7.6 in controls; p = 0.003), and in the frontal lobe gray matter (5.4 in cases versus 7.4 in controls; p = 0.002). There was no difference in SULF1 expression in the hippocampus or frontal lobe of AD cases and controls. As expected there were no differences in SULF1 or SULF2 expression in white matter in AD cases compared to cognitively normal controls. Conclusion: Decreased SULF2 in specific regions of the brain occurs in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cognition
  • heparan sulfate proteoglycans
  • hSulf2
  • neuropathology
  • SULF2


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