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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cholinergic and dopaminergic activities in senile dementia of Lewy body type.

Analyses of brain tissue in a recently identified group of elderly demented patients suggest a neurochemical basis for some of the clinical features. Senile dementia of the Lewy body type (SDLT) can be distinguished from classical Alzheimer disease (AD) clinically by its acute presentation with confusion frequently accompanied by visual hallucinations, and neuropathologically by the presence of Lewy bodies and senile plaques (but not generally neurofibrillary tangles) in the cerebral cortex. Reductions in the cortical cholinergic enzyme choline acetyltransferase were more pronounced in individuals with (80%) compared to those without (50%) hallucinations and correlated strongly with mental test scores in the group as a whole. In the caudate nucleus, dopamine levels were related to the number of neurons in the substantia nigra, there being a 40-60% loss of both in SDLT--probably accounting for mild extrapyramidal features in some of these cases--compared with an 80% loss in Parkinson disease and no change in AD. The cholinergic correlates of mental impairment in SDLT together with the relative absence of cortical neurofibrillary tangles and evidence for postsynaptic cholinergic receptor compensation raise the question of whether this type of dementia may be more amenable to cholinotherapy than classical AD.[1]


  1. Cholinergic and dopaminergic activities in senile dementia of Lewy body type. Perry, E.K., Marshall, E., Perry, R.H., Irving, D., Smith, C.J., Blessed, G., Fairbairn, A.F. Alzheimer disease and associated disorders. (1990) [Pubmed]
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