Disturbance of the 5-hydroxytryptamine metabolism in brains from patients with Alzheimer’s dementia

  • C. G. Gottfries
Part of the Journal of Neural Transmission book series (NEURAL SUPPL, volume 30)


The 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) system in the human brain is sensitive to aging. In dementia of the Alzheimer type (AD/SDAT), there are significantly reduced concentrations of 5-HT and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA). 5-HT-sensitive imipramine binding is reduced by almost 50%, indicating a loss of presynaptic 5-HT terminals. There also seems to be reduced tryptophan hydroxylase activity in some brain areas. In cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from AD/SDAT patients, the concentration of 5-HIAA is reduced, and the accumulation of 5-HIAA after probenecid loading is diminished. Biochemical findings together with structural findings in the raphe nuclei indicate that the disturbance of the 5-HT system is of the same magnitude as the disturbance of the cholinergic system.

Reduced activity in the 5-HT system may be of importance for activity in the hypothalamus. There is an increased concentration of arginine vasopressin, which may explain the increased activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis seen in patients with AD/SDAT. This activity is reduced when a selective 5-HT reuptake blocker is given.

Pharmacological treatment with 5-HT reuptake blockers improves emotional disturbances, confusion, anxiety and depressed mood in patients with AD/SDAT.


Raphe Nucleus Pernicious Anaemia Senile Dementia Presenile Dementia Dementia Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. G. Gottfries
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and NeurochemistryGothenburg UniversityHisings BackaSweden

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