Increased striatal dopamine (D2/D3) receptor availability and delusions in Alzheimer disease.Neurology. 2009 Feb 10; 72(6):528-34.Neur
Dysfunction within corticostriatal dopaminergic neurocircuitry has been implicated in neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with Alzheimer disease (AD). This study aimed to test the hypothesis that the symptom domains delusions and apathy would be associated with striatal dopamine (D2) receptor function in AD.
In vivo dopamine (D2/D3) receptor availability was determined with [(11)C]raclopride (RAC) PET in 23 patients with mild and moderate probable AD. Behavioral symptoms were measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory and the Apathy Inventory. Imaging data were analyzed using a region-of-interest approach. The potential confounding effects of age, sex, and disease stage were explored using a linear mixed model. Correlational and independent samples comparisons were used to examine the relationship between behavioral and binding potential (BP(ND)) measures.
Mean [(11)C]RAC BP(ND) was higher in patients with delusions (n = 7; 5 men) than in patients without delusions (n = 16; 6 men) (p = 0.006). When women were excluded from the analysis, [(11)C]RAC BP(ND) was higher in men with delusions than in men without delusions (p = 0.05). Apathy measures showed no association with [(11)C]RAC BP(ND).
Striatal dopamine (D2/D3) receptor availability is increased in Alzheimer disease patients with delusions, to an extent comparable to that observed in drug-naive patients with schizophrenia. Whether this represents up-regulation of dopamine (D2) or possibly dopamine (D3) receptors and how this relates to responsivity of the striatal dopaminergic system merit further exploration.