Adrenergic drugs blockers or enhancers for cognitive decline? What to choose for Alzheimer’s disease patients?

Grazia D. Femminella, Dario Leosco, Nicola Ferrara, Giuseppe Rengo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The adrenergic system has an important role in normal central nervous system function as well as in brain disease. The locus coeruleus, the main source of norepinephrine in brain, is involved in the regulation of learning and memory, reinforcement of sleep-wake cycle and synaptic plasticity. In Alzheimer’s disease, locus coeruleus degeneration is observed early in the course of the disease, years before the onset of clinical cognitive signs, with neurofibrillary detected at the stage of mild cognitive impairment, preceding amyloid deposition. Thus, in the last years, a great interest has grown in evaluating the possibility of central adrenergic system modulation as a therapeutic tool in Alzheimer’s disease. However, evidences do not show univocal results, with some studies suggesting that adrenergic stimulation might be beneficial in Alzheimer’s Disease and some others favoring adrenergic blockade. In this review, we summarize data from both hypothesis and describe the pathophysiological role of the adrenergic system in neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-671
Number of pages7
JournalCNS and Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Adrenergic receptors
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Beta-blockers
  • Functional recovery
  • Locus coeruleus
  • Neurodegeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology


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