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October 1986

Cerebrospinal Fluid Biopterin Is Decreased in Alzheimer's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging (Drs Kay, Creasey, Haxby, Cutler, and Rapoport) and the Laboratory of Neurochemistry, National Institute of Mental Health (Drs Milstien and Kaufman), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Neurol. 1986;43(10):996-999. doi:10.1001/archneur.1986.00520100018008

• Tetrahydrobiopterin is the cofactor in the hydroxylation of phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan leading to the eventual synthesis of the monoaminergic neurotransmitters, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, respectively. Total biopterin (90% of which is in the tetrahydro form) was measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma of 30 patients with Alzheimer's disease and of 19 healthy controls. Plasma and CSF biopterin concentrations were not significantly correlated, but the mean CSF biopterin concentration in patients with Alzheimer's disease was significantly less than in age-matched controls, 13.5 pmol/mL as compared with 18.9 pmol/mL. The CSF biopterin concentration was not correlated with ventricular volume, as estimated by quantitative computed tomography, nor with the severity of dementia, as measured by various cognitive tests. The results suggest that a central biopterin deficiency exists in Alzheimer's disease.