Loss of serotonin 5-HT2A receptors in the postmortem temporal cortex correlates with rate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease.
Lai MK., Tsang SW., Alder JT., Keene J., Hope T., Esiri MM., Francis PT., Chen CP.
RATIONALE: Previous studies have demonstrated reductions of serotonin 5-HT 2A receptors in the neocortex of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. However, it is unclear whether such losses play a role in the cognitive decline of AD. OBJECTIVES: To correlate neocortical 5-HT 2A receptor alterations with cognitive decline in AD. METHODS: Postmortem frontal and temporal cortical 5-HT 2A receptors were measured by [3H]ketanserin binding in aged controls as well as in a cohort of AD patients who had been longitudinally assessed for cognitive decline and behavioral symptoms. RESULTS: 5-HT 2A receptor densities in both regions were reduced in severely demented AD patients compared to age-matched controls. In the temporal cortex, this reduction also correlated with the rate of decline of Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores. The association between 5-HT 2A receptor loss and cognitive decline was independent of the effects of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity and presence of behavioral symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that loss of neocortical 5-HT 2A receptors may predict for faster cognitive decline in AD, and point to serotomimetics as potentially useful adjuvants to cholinergic replacement therapies.