Chapter 3.8 Stress and dementia

E. Ferrari, L. Cravello, M. Bonacina, F. Salmoiraghi, F. Magri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Dementia is a relatively well-defined condition characterized by a progressive decline of cognitive and performances, as a consequence of degenerative and/or vascular brain changes. Although the definition of stress remains still problematic, it is now well known that a chronic exposure to stressors is usually able to disrupt the physiological balance both at the cellular or the organism level, and to play a role in the onset and progression of some pathological conditions. Within this context, at systemic level stress includes all the neurohormonal and metabolic responses of the organism to external stressors; at cellular level, stress, mostly oxidative stress, may instead be a correlate of the aging process itself. The link between stress and cognitive impairment is probably to be found in the hippocampal changes, a crucial as well as vulnerable brain area involved in mood, cognitive and behavioural control, and in the mean time, a site with a very high density of glucocorticoid (GR) and mineralocorticoid (MR) receptors. Therefore, the hippocampal neuronal impairment is responsible for a continuous stress-induced activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and an increased hypothalamic expression of corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and vasopressin. Furthermore, the age-related changes of the adrenocortical secretory pattern could play a role in the pathophysiology of brain aging, fostering the brain exposure to a neurotoxic hormonal pattern. In this chapter, we examine particularly the evidence for a link between dementia and HPA activity on the basis of the data in the literature as well as of our personal findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-370
Number of pages14
JournalTechniques in the Behavioral and Neural Sciences
Volume15
Issue numberPART 2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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Dementia
Brain
Mineralocorticoid Receptors
Foster Home Care
Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
Glucocorticoid Receptors
Vasopressins
Blood Vessels
Oxidative Stress
Cognitive Dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Chapter 3.8 Stress and dementia. / Ferrari, E.; Cravello, L.; Bonacina, M.; Salmoiraghi, F.; Magri, F.

In: Techniques in the Behavioral and Neural Sciences, Vol. 15, No. PART 2, 2005, p. 357-370.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ferrari, E, Cravello, L, Bonacina, M, Salmoiraghi, F & Magri, F 2005, 'Chapter 3.8 Stress and dementia', Techniques in the Behavioral and Neural Sciences, vol. 15, no. PART 2, pp. 357-370. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-0709(05)80064-1
Ferrari, E. ; Cravello, L. ; Bonacina, M. ; Salmoiraghi, F. ; Magri, F. / Chapter 3.8 Stress and dementia. In: Techniques in the Behavioral and Neural Sciences. 2005 ; Vol. 15, No. PART 2. pp. 357-370.
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