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Neurotransmitters, peptides, and neural cell adhesion molecules in the cortices of normal elderly humans and Alzheimer patients: a comparison.

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By Yew DT, Li WP, Webb SE, Lai HW, Zhang L • • January 1, 1999

Immunocytochemical techniques was used to compare the proportion of neurons expressing various neurotransmitters (tyrosine hydroxylase, choline acetyltransferase and gamma-aminobutyric acid), neuropeptides (Leu-enkephalin and substance P) and neural cell adhesion molecules (NCAM) in the hippocampus, frontal (area 10) and occipital (area 17) cortices of neurologically normal elderly humans to that of age-matched Alzheimer disease (AD) patients.

There was no difference in the proportion of GABAergic and cholinergic cells between the normal and AD groups in all three brain regions studied. However, the catecholaminergic cells in the frontal cortex of the AD patients revealed a significant decrease. The catecholaminergic cells present in the cortex were both neurons and astrocytes, as revealed by a double immunostaining of tyrosine hydroxylase and glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP). Furthermore, the difference in the proportion of cells expressing Substance P and Leu-enkephalin was minimal between the two groups studied.

Although there was little difference in the levels of NCAM in the occipital cortex and hippocampus of the two groups, there were significantly fewer positive NCAM neurons in the frontal cortex of AD than normal aging individuals.

Source: Exp Gerontol 1999 Jan;34(1):117-33
PMID: 10197733, UI: 99211590

(Department of Anatomy, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, China. )

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