Monoaminergic neurotransmitter alterations in postmortem brain regions of depressed and aggressive patients with Alzheimer's disease

Yannick Vermeiren, Debby Van Dam, Tony Aerts, Sebastiaan Engelborghs, Peter P De Deyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Depression and aggression in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are 2 of the most severe and prominent neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS). Altered monoaminergic neurotransmitter system functioning has been implicated in both NPS, although their neurochemical etiology remains to be elucidated. Left frozen hemispheres of 40 neuropathologically confirmed AD patients were regionally dissected. Dichotomization based on depression and aggression scores resulted in depressed/nondepressed (AD + D/AD - D) and aggressive/nonaggressive (AD + Agr/AD - Agr) groups. Concentrations of dopamine, serotonin (5-HT), (nor)epinephrine ((N)E), and respective metabolites were determined using reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. Significantly lower 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG) and higher homovanillic acid levels were observed in Brodmann area (BA) 9 and 10 of AD + D compared with AD - D. In AD + Agr, 5-hydroxy-3-indoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) levels in BA9, 5-HIAA to 5-HT ratios in BA11, and MHPG, NE, and 5-HIAA levels in the hippocampus were significantly decreased compared with AD - Agr. These findings indicate that brain region-specific altered monoamines and metabolites may contribute to the occurrence of depression and aggression in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2691-2700
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aggression
  • Alzheimer Disease/metabolism
  • Brain/metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Depression
  • Dopamine/metabolism
  • Epinephrine/metabolism
  • Female
  • Homovanillic Acid/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid/metabolism
  • Male
  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol/metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter Agents/metabolism
  • Serotonin/metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Monoaminergic neurotransmitter alterations in postmortem brain regions of depressed and aggressive patients with Alzheimer's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this