Neurotransmitter imbalance in the brain and alzheimer’s pathology

Stuart G. Snowden, Amera A. Ebshiana, Abdul Hye, Olga Pletnikova, Richard O’Brien, An Yang, John Troncoso, Cristina Legido-Quigley, Madhav Thambisetty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Three of the four treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are cholinesterase inhibitors targeting the pathological reduction of acetylcholine levels. Here we aimed to determine the role of other neurotransmitter pathways in AD pathology. METHODS: Tissue samples were obtained from three groups, controls, AD and ‘asymptomatic AD’ i.e. cognitively normal individuals that had significant AD neuropathology. Three brain areas were studied, the middle frontal gyrus (MFG) the inferior temporal gyrus (ITG) and the cerebellum. RESULTS: 11 of 15 measured metabolites were shown to be associated with disease. Decreases in dopamine were seen in the ASYMAD group in the MFG when compared to control and AD patients (FC=0.78, p=4.1×10-3). In AD patients changes were mainly seen in the ITG’s inhibitory GABAergic system. DISCUSSION: These results indicate that dopamine could be depleted in brains with Alzheimer’s pathology but intact cognition, while and imbalance of several neurotransmitters is evident in the brain of AD patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Nov 17 2017


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Asymptomatic AD
  • Brain
  • Metabolomics
  • Neurotransmitters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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