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RATIONALE: Previous studies have demonstrated reductions of serotonin 5-HT 2A receptors in the neocortex of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. However, it is unclear whether such losses play a role in the cognitive decline of AD. OBJECTIVES: To correlate neocortical 5-HT 2A receptor alterations with cognitive decline in AD. METHODS: Postmortem frontal and temporal cortical 5-HT 2A receptors were measured by [3H]ketanserin binding in aged controls as well as in a cohort of AD patients who had been longitudinally assessed for cognitive decline and behavioral symptoms. RESULTS: 5-HT 2A receptor densities in both regions were reduced in severely demented AD patients compared to age-matched controls. In the temporal cortex, this reduction also correlated with the rate of decline of Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores. The association between 5-HT 2A receptor loss and cognitive decline was independent of the effects of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity and presence of behavioral symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that loss of neocortical 5-HT 2A receptors may predict for faster cognitive decline in AD, and point to serotomimetics as potentially useful adjuvants to cholinergic replacement therapies.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychopharmacology (Berl)

Publication Date





673 - 677


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Alzheimer Disease, Cognition Disorders, Female, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Protein Binding, Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A, Temporal Lobe