A postmortem study of amino acid neurotransmitters in Alzheimer's disease
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Concentrations of putative neurotransmitter amino acids were measured in postmortem brains from 10 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 10 controls. Glutamate, aspartate, taurine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and alanine levels were examined in 9 cortical regions, hippocampus, thalamus, and basal ganglia using high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. There were no significant alterations in aspartate, taurine, or alanine levels in any of the regions examined. Widespread significant reductions in cortical GABA concentrations were observed in the Alzheimer's brains, with the largest decreases in the temporal lobe. Overall values for glutamate concentrations in temporal and frontal cortices showed a significant 12% reduction in Alzheimer's brains, but the only individual cortical region showing a significant reduction in glutamate was the inferior temporal gyrus. These results suggest that gamma-aminobutyric acidergic neurons in Alzheimer's cerebral cortex may be selectively vulnerable to the disease process.
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