OBJECTIVE: Neurosteroids have been suggested to be involved in the regulation of cognitive performances. A major neurosteroid gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) agonist is allopregnanolone: the main source of circulating allopregnanolone is the adrenal cortex. Studies indicated that a disturbance of the central regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis occurs in both senile (Alzheimer's disease: AD) and vascular dementia (VD). DESIGN: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the levels of circulating allopregnanolone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and cortisol and their response to corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) test in AD and VD. METHODS: Three groups of 12 subjects were included in the study: AD, VD and age-matched control subjects. CRF test was performed in all subjects and allopregnanolone, DHEA and cortisol levels were measured every 15min for 2h. RESULTS: Mean +/- s.e.m. allopregnanolone and DHEA basal levels were significantly lower in AD and VD than in controls, while cortisol levels were significantly higher than in controls (P<0.01). Allopregnanolone and DHEA levels increase in response to CRF test in all subjects but the area under curve (AUC) in patients was significantly lower than in controls (P<0.01). Cortisol secretion appeared to be very sensitive in response to CRF stimulation: in fact, cortisol response to CRF test in AD and VD subjects was higher (both as AUC and as % max increase) than in controls (P<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The present study firstly showed that allopregnanolone levels are reduced both in AD and in VD and that dementia has a preserved stimulated response of allopregnanolone to CRF. Overall, however, the total response of allopregnanolone to CRF remains reduced in respect to controls. Further studies are necessary for a better understanding of the role of neurosteroids in the regulation of cognitive function.
|Autori:||Bernardi F; Lanzone A; Cento RM; Spada RS; Pezzani I; Genazzani AD; Luisi S; Luisi M; Petraglia F; Genazzani A|
|Titolo:||Allopregnanolone and dehydroepiandrosterone response to corticotropin-releasing factor in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.|
|Anno del prodotto:||2000|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|