Neuroendocrinological function in Alzheimer's disease

M. Franceschi, L. Perego, L. Ferini-Strambi, S. Smirne, N. Canal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The neuroendocrine function is regulated by several neurotransmitters (acetylcholine, dopamine, somatostatin and noradrenaline) known to be reduced in brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Moreover, the hypothalamus also has pathological changes. In spite of these findings suggesting neuroendocrine dysfunctions, this function has seldom been investigated in AD patients so far. We have compared patients with clinically 'probable' AD of mild-to-moderate severity with nondemented age- and sex-matched controls. Plasma levels of prolactin (PRL), growth hormone (GH) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) were measured by commercially available radioimmunoassays (RIA) before and after stimulation with metoclopramide, l-dopa or thyrotropin-releasing hormone. Basal plasma levels of β-endorphin and β-lipotropin were measured by RIA after high-performance liquid chromatography. Basal and stimulated plasma levels of PRL, GH, TSH and β-lipotropin were similar in the two groups. Basal plasma levels of β-endorphin were significantly higher in the patient group. Of doubtful clinical importance, this might be attributed to decreased tuberoinfundibular dopaminergic activity and has also been seen in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-370
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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