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Increased cerebrospinal fluid cortisol level in Alzheimer’s disease is not related to depression.

Research group Swaab
Publication year 2006
Published in Neurobiology of Aging
Authors W.J.G. Hoogendijk, G. Meynen, E. Endert, M.A. Hofman, D.F. Swaab

Hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis hyperactivity is well established in a large proportion of both Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and idiopathic depression patients, resulting in, e.g. increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cortisol levels. We hypothesized that HPA-axis activity in depressed AD patients is even more increased than in non-depressed AD patients, resulting in higher CSF cortisol levels. Cortisol levels were
measured in post mortem CSF of depressed and non-depressed AD patients and in controls. Cortisol levels in AD patients were more than double those of controls, while no significant differences were found between depressed and non-depressed AD patients. These results suggest a different pathogenetic mechanism in depression in AD than in idiopathic depression.

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