Acetylcholine esterase activity in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

Research paper by Karl K Herholz

Indexed on: 16 Jan '08Published on: 16 Jan '08Published in: European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging


Impairment of cholinergic neurotransmission is a well-established fact in Alzheimer's disease (AD), but there is controversy about its relevance at the early stages of the disease and in mild cognitive impairment (MCI).In vivo positron emission tomography imaging of cortical acetylcholine esterase (AChE) activity as a marker of cholinergic innervation that is expressed by cholinergic axons and cholinoceptive neurons has demonstrated a reduction of this enzyme activity in manifest AD. The technique is also useful to measure the inhibition of cerebral AChE induced by cholinesterase inhibitors for treatment of dementia symptoms.A reduction of cortical AchE activity was found consistently in all studies of AD and in few cases of MCI who later concerted to AD.The in vivo findings in MCI and very mild AD are still preliminary, and studies seem to suggest that cholinergic innervation and AChE as the main degrading enzyme are both reduced, which might result in partial compensation of their effect.

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