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November 1982

Decreased CSF Concentrations of Homovanillic Acid and γ-Aminobutyric Acid in Alzheimer's Disease: Age- or Disease-Related Modifications?

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pharmacology (Drs Bareggi, Bonini, and Zecca) and Neurology (Drs Franceschi and Smirne), School of Medicine, University of Milan, Italy.

Arch Neurol. 1982;39(11):709-712. doi:10.1001/archneur.1982.00510230035010

• Fifteen patients, 48 to 72 years old, with Alzheimer's disease were studied. Clinical status was assessed by neurologic and neuropsychologic examinations and psychometric testing. Patients were divided into two groups on the basis of clinical assessment: group 1, little mental deterioration, and group 2, serious mental deterioration. Nineteen subjects, 27 to 72 years old, without neurologic disease served as controls. Levels of homovanillic acid (HVA), 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were determined in lumbar CSF by fluorimetric or radioreceptor binding (GABA) methods. The HVA concentrations increased with age in the controls, whereas the GABA levels decreased with age, and 5-HIAA levels were not modified. When compared with the age-matched controls, the patients with Alzheimer's disease showed low concentrations of HVA but not of 5-HIAA or GABA. The decrease in HVA level was more pronounced in patients with severe mental deterioration and therefore appeared to be disease related.