Coenzyme A-Dependent Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle Enzymes Are Decreased in Alzheimer’s Disease Consistent With Cerebral Pantothenate Deficiency

Crystal Sang, Sasha Philbert, Danielle Hartland, Richard Unwin, Andrew Dowsey, Jingshu Xu, Garth JS Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (sAD) is the commonest cause of age-related neurodegeneration and dementia globally, and a leading cause of premature disability and death. To date, the quest for a disease-modifying therapy for sAD has failed, probably reflecting our incomplete understanding of aetiology and pathogenesis. Drugs that target aggregated Aβ/tau are ineffective, and metabolic defects are now considered to play substantive roles in sAD pathobiology. We tested the hypothesis that the recently identified, pervasive cerebral deficiency of pantothenate (vitamin B5) in sAD, might undermine brain energy metabolism by impairing levels of tricarboxylic acid (TCA)-cycle enzymes and enzyme complexes, some of which require the pantothenate-derived cofactor, coenzyme A (CoA) for their normal functioning. We applied proteomics to measure levels of the multi-subunit TCA-cycle enzymes and their cytoplasmic homologues. We analysed six functionally distinct brain regions from nine sAD cases and nine controls, measuring 33 cerebral proteins that comprise the nine enzymes of the mitochondrial-TCA cycle. Remarkably, we found widespread perturbations affecting only two multi-subunit enzymes and two enzyme complexes, whose function is modulated, directly or indirectly by CoA: pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, isocitrate dehydrogenase, 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complex, and succinyl-CoA synthetase. The sAD cases we studied here displayed widespread deficiency of pantothenate, the obligatory precursor of CoA. Therefore, deficient cerebral pantothenate can damage brain-energy metabolism in sAD, at least in part through impairing levels of these four mitochondrial-TCA-cycle enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number893159
Pages (from-to)893159
JournalFrontiers in aging neuroscience
Issue number893159
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022


  • coenzyme A (CoA)
  • human brain
  • pantothenic acid/vitamin B5
  • pyruvate dehydrogenase complex
  • sporadic Alzheimer’s disease
  • tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle)

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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