The aging brain and its disorders
In the search for the meachanisms underlying the aging process and for approaches to alleviate the resulting functional losses, the neurotransmitter strategy appears to offer great promise. This strategy is based on the hypothesis that the biological properties and vulnerabilities of nerve cells depend largely on the types of neurotransmitters they produce or are exposed to by innervation from other nerve cells. It permits an insight into the complex interactions and imbalances between neuronal systems that lead to age related functional losses. The aging process may not only cause transmitter deficiencies. Owing to failure of regulatory mechanisms neurotransmitters may prove harmful to the cells producing them as well as to cells exposed to them by innervation. The former mechanism is illustrated by the toxic potential of catecholamine autoxidation, the latter by excitotoxins.
KeywordsDopaminergic Neuron Aging Brain Locus Ceruleus Mesencephalic Reticular Formation Choline Acetyl Transferase
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