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Choline acetyltransferase activity in vascular dementia and stroke

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Raj Kalaria, Dr Clive Ballard


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Background/Aim: Alterations in cholinergic activity have not been systematically studied in types of cerebrovascular disease. We examined cholinergic function at postmortem, focussing on stroke and vascular dementia (VaD). Methods: Post-mortem brain tissue was studied from 61 patients with stroke or VaD (13 infarct dementia; 8 stroke/no dementia; 11 sub-cortical ischaemic VaD, SIVD; 29 VaD and concurrent Alzheimer's disease, AD), 12 patients with AD and 23 controls. Choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) was measured in Brodmann areas (BA) 9 and 20/21. Results: There were significant reductions in ChAT activity in patients with VaD and concurrent AD compared to age-matched controls (BA9: t = 2.7, p = 0.009; BA20/21: t = 4.67, p = 0.000). In patients with infarct dementia, there was a significant 27% increase in ChAT activity in BA9 (t = 2.1, p = 0.047), but not in BA20/21 (t = 1.67, p = 0.106), compared to the age-matched control group. There was no relationship between ChAT activity and cognition in the VaD patients. Conclusions: Loss of cholinergic function is only evident in VaD patients with concurrent AD. A novel increase in cholinergic activity was identified in patients with infarct dementia, which may create important new treatment opportunities. © 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sharp S, Francis P, Elliott M, Kalaria R, Bajic N, Hortobagyi T, Ballard C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders

Year: 2009

Volume: 28

Issue: 3

Pages: 233-238

Print publication date: 01/10/2009

ISSN (print): 1420-8008

ISSN (electronic): 1421-9824

Publisher: S. Karger AG


DOI: 10.1159/000239235

PubMed id: 19776575


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