Dementia of the Alzheimer type and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenocortical axis: Changes in cerebrospinal fluid corticotropin releasing factor and plasma cortisol levels

E. Martignoni, F. Petraglia, A. Costa, G. Bono, A. R. Genazzani, G. Nappi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis was explored in 10 patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) and in 11 age-matched controls, by measuring 1) corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), 2) the circadian changes of plasma cortisol, 3) and 4) the plasma cortisol response to dexamethasone suppression test (DST) and to CRF stimulation test. CSF CRF levels in DAT were significantly higher than in controls and inversely related to the Mini Mental State (MMS) score. The patients also displayed increased morning (0800 h) plasma cortisol values, with higher mesor and amplitude in the circadian pattern. Dexamethasone resistance was shown by 6 of the 10 DAT subjects. Plasma cortisol response to CRF administration was similar in the two groups, except for the peak values, which in DAT patients were reached earlier than in controls. The present data suggest an overactivity of HPA axis in DAT; its possible role in the evolution of the disease is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-456
Number of pages5
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Volume81
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1990

Keywords

  • circadian rhythm
  • corticotropin releasing factor
  • dexamethasone suppression test
  • hippocampus
  • hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenocortical axis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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