Serotonin transporters are preserved in the neocortex of anxious Alzheimer's disease patients.
Tsang SW., Lai MK., Francis PT., Wong PT., Spence I., Esiri MM., Keene J., Hope T., Chen CP.
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.