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Lookup NU author(s): Professor John O'Brien
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Serotonergic function is reduced in dementia of Alzheimer type (DAT) and abnormalities in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis are also common. There is considerable interaction between the two systems. Effects of lowering brain serotonin on salivary and plasma cortisol were assessed in patients with DAT and in control subjects. A double-blind, cross-over design involving administration of two nutritionally balanced amino acid mixtures with or without tryptophan was used. Salivary and plasma cortisol were measured at intervals before and after the drink. DAT patients had higher salivary cortisol than controls. Despite a reduction of approximately 70% in plasma free tryptophan after 4 h in both groups, there was no effect on salivary or plasma cortisol. We conclude that, in subjects with DAT and healthy elderly subjects, acute tryptophan depletion had no effect on cortisol secretion.
Author(s): Porter R, Marshall EF, O'Brien JT
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Psychopharmacology
Print publication date: 01/01/2002
ISSN (print): 0269-8811
ISSN (electronic): 1461-7285
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
PubMed id: 11949775