Catecholamine-based treatment in ad patients: Expectations and delusions

Alessandro Stefani, Enrica Olivola, Claudio Liguori, Atticus H. Hainsworth, Valentina Saviozzi, Giacoma Angileri, Vincenza D'Angelo, Salvatore Galati, Mariangela Pierantozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Alzheimer disease, the gap between excellence of diagnostics and efficacy of therapy is wide. Despite sophisticated imaging and biochemical markers, the efficacy of available therapeutic options is limited. Here we examine the possibility that assessment of endogenous catecholamine levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may fuel new therapeutic strategies. In reviewing the available literature, we consider the effects of levodopa, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and noradrenaline (NE) modulators, showing disparate results. We present a preliminary assessment of CSF concentrations of dopamine (DA) and NE, determined by HPLC, in a small dementia cohort of either Alzheimer's disease (AD) or frontotemporal dementia patients, compared to control subjects. Our data reveal detectable levels of DA, NE in CSF, though we found no significant alterations in the dementia population as a whole. AD patients exhibit a small impairment of the DA axis and a larger increase of NE concentration, likely to represent a compensatory mechanism. While waiting for preventive strategies, a pragmatic approach to AD may re-evaluate catecholamine modulation, possibly stratified to dementia subtypes, as part of the therapeutic armamentarium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number67
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Issue numberMAY
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Catecholamine
  • CSF
  • Dopamine
  • Monoaminooxidase inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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