Increased Vasopressin Production in Senescence and Dementia Due to Kidney Changes
Vasopressin (VP) is involved as a neurotransmitter in a number of central functions that are frequently disturbed during aging and dementia. Therefore, this peptide has been used in clinical trials as a ‘substitution therapy’ for the degenerating peptidergic neurons, aimed at improving cognitive functions in aged and demented individuals with unequivocal results. In order to investigate whether the VP systems indeed show the claimed degenerative changes during aging and dementia, we focused in the first place on the Supra Optic Nucleus (SON) and the Para Ventricular Nucleus (PVN). VP cells were identified by means of immunocytochemistry in a series of 32 formalin-fixed human hypothalami, including k patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT). in the SON and PVN, VP cell and nucleolar size was determined by means of a digitizer device, as parameter for peptide synthesizing activity. VP cell size and nucleolar size increased beyond 80 years of age, both in the PVN and in the SON. In SDAT patients these measures fell within the range for their age group. Instead of degenerative changes, these results show an activation of the vasopressinergic system, in senescence and in SDAT patients, similar to earlier observations in the aged rat and in accordance with a rise in human neurophysin and VP levels reported recently. The cause for these changes might be in the kidney.
KeywordsSenile Dementia Distal Convoluted Tube Nucleolar Size Vasopressin Neuron Para Ventricular Nucleus
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