Elevated norepinephrine metabolism is linked to cortical thickness in the context of Alzheimer's disease pathology

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Abstract

Advanced Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by higher noradrenaline metabolite levels that may be associated with AD pathology. The locus coeruleus (LC) is the main site for cerebral noradrenaline synthesis and LC volume loss occurs as early as Braak stage 1. This study investigates the association between noradrenergic turnover and brain morphology, and the modifying effect of AD pathology. The study sample included 77 memory clinic patients (37 cognitively unimpaired and 40 cognitively impaired (mild cognitive impairment or AD dementia)). Cortical thickness and volumetric analyses were performed using FreeSurfer. Cerebrospinal fluid was analyzed for noradrenergic metabolite 3-methoxy-4hydroxyphenylethyleneglycol (MHPG), A beta 42 and phosphorylated tau. Higher MHPG was associated with lower cortical thickness and hippocampal volume at lower, but subthreshold, levels of A beta 42 and at higher p-tau levels. These associations remained significant after adding APOE-E4 or cognitive status as covariates. Our results suggest that greater MHPG together with worse AD pathology contributes to neurodegeneration, possibly before significant amyloidosis. The noradrenergic system may play an important role in early detection of AD-related processes. (C) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume102
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Locus coeruleus
  • Noradrenaline
  • Amyloid-beta
  • Tau
  • Brain morphology
  • MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT
  • CEREBROSPINAL-FLUID
  • LOCUS-COERULEUS
  • PHOSPHORYLATED TAU
  • ASSOCIATION WORKGROUPS
  • DIAGNOSTIC GUIDELINES
  • NATIONAL INSTITUTE
  • PLASMA
  • DEMENTIA
  • MHPG

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