Serotonin transporters are preserved in the neocortex of anxious Alzheimer's disease patients.
Tsang SWY., Lai MKP., Francis PT., Wong PT-H., Spence I., Esiri MM., Keene J., Hope T., Chen CPL-H.
Densities of serotonin transporters (5-HTT) in the postmortem neocortex of behaviorally assessed Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and aged controls were measured by radioligand binding with [3H]citalopram. It was found that 5-HTT sites in the temporal cortex of AD patients with prominent antemortem anxiety were unaltered compared with controls, but were reduced in non-anxious AD subjects. Furthermore, homozygosity for the high activity allele of a functional polymorphism in the 5-HTT gene promoter region (5-HTTLPR) was associated with both increased [3H]citalopram binding and occurrence of anxiety in the AD subjects. Since serotonin-synthesizing neurons are known to be lost in the AD cortex, this study suggests that the preservation of 5-HTT may exacerbate serotonergic deficits and underlie anxiety symptoms in AD.