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April 1997

T-Cell Interferon Gamma Binding in Patients With Dementia of the Alzheimer Type

Author Affiliations

From Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento, Sant'Anna, Pisa (Drs Bongioanni, Boccardi, Borgna, and Castagna), and the Neuropsychiatry Service, Ceva Hospital, Ceva (Dr Mondino), Italy.

Arch Neurol. 1997;54(4):457-462. doi:10.1001/archneur.1997.00550160085021

Objective:  To study T-cell-dependent immune function in patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT).

Design:  Assay interferon gamma binding on T lymphocytes in patients with DAT, as compared with healthy controls.

Setting:  The study was performed on ambulatory patients in a tertiary care center, where patients were diagnosed as having DAT according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke criteria.

Patients:  Thirty-five nondepressed patients with DAT (15 women and 20 men; mean [±SD] age, 68.6±15.8 years) were selected consecutively. They were drug free for at least 3 weeks and did not smoke. Illness severity was evaluated according to the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale. The control group comprised 35 age- and sex-matched, healthy, nonsmoking subjects, with no family history of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Results:  A significant reduction (P<.001) of T-lymphocyte interferon gamma binding was observed in patients with DAT as compared with healthy controls (611±19 [SE] vs 702±11 [SE] receptors per cell, respectively), whereas the dissociation constant (ligand-receptor affinity) values were similar in the 2 groups (1.1±0.06 [SE] and 1.2±0.06 [SE] nmol/L).

Conclusion:  These data demonstrate a derangement of the immune response in patients with DAT, since cell surface interferon gamma receptors seem to be related with T-lymphocyte immune function.

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