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# Locus coeruleus, norepinephrine and Aβ peptides in Alzheimer's disease

review-article

Neurobiology of Stress

Elsevier

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### Abstract

Monoaminergic brainstem systems have widespread projections that participate in many central processes and, when dysregulated, contribute to a plethora of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Synapses are the foundation of these neuronal circuits, and their local dysfunction results in global aberrations leading to pathophysiological disease states. This review focuses on the locus coeruleus (LC) norepinephrine (NE) brainstem system and its underappreciated role in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Amyloid beta (Aβ), a peptide that accumulates aberrantly in AD has recently been implicated as a modulator of neuronal excitability at the synapse. Evidence is presented showing that disruption of the LC-NE system at a synaptic and circuit level during early stages of AD, due to conditions such as chronic stress, can potentially lead to amyloid accumulation and contribute to the progression of this neurodegenerative disorder. Additional factors that impact neurodegeneration include neuroinflammation, and network de-synchronization. Consequently, targeting the LC-NE system may have significant therapeutic potential for AD, as it may facilitate modulation of Aβ production, curtail neuroinflammation, and prevent sleep and behavioral disturbances that often lead to negative patient outcomes.

### Most cited references104

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### APP processing and synaptic function.

(2003)
A large body of evidence has implicated Abeta peptides and other derivatives of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) as central to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the functional relationship of APP and its proteolytic derivatives to neuronal electrophysiology is not known. Here, we show that neuronal activity modulates the formation and secretion of Abeta peptides in hippocampal slice neurons that overexpress APP. In turn, Abeta selectively depresses excitatory synaptic transmission onto neurons that overexpress APP, as well as nearby neurons that do not. This depression depends on NMDA-R activity and can be reversed by blockade of neuronal activity. Synaptic depression from excessive Abeta could contribute to cognitive decline during early AD. In addition, we propose that activity-dependent modulation of endogenous Abeta production may normally participate in a negative feedback that could keep neuronal hyperactivity in check. Disruption of this feedback system could contribute to disease progression in AD.
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### 2015 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures.

(2015)
This report discusses the public health impact of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), including incidence and prevalence, mortality rates, costs of care and the overall effect on caregivers and society. It also examines the challenges encountered by health care providers when disclosing an AD diagnosis to patients and caregivers. An estimated 5.3 million Americans have AD; 5.1 million are age 65 years, and approximately 200,000 are age <65 years and have younger onset AD. By mid-century, the number of people living with AD in the United States is projected to grow by nearly 10 million, fueled in large part by the aging baby boom generation. Today, someone in the country develops AD every 67 seconds. By 2050, one new case of AD is expected to develop every 33 seconds, resulting in nearly 1 million new cases per year, and the estimated prevalence is expected to range from 11 million to 16 million. In 2013, official death certificates recorded 84,767 deaths from AD, making AD the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death in Americans age 65 years. Between 2000 and 2013, deaths resulting from heart disease, stroke and prostate cancer decreased 14%, 23% and 11%, respectively, whereas deaths from AD increased 71%. The actual number of deaths to which AD contributes (or deaths with AD) is likely much larger than the number of deaths from AD recorded on death certificates. In 2015, an estimated 700,000 Americans age 65 years will die with AD, and many of them will die from complications caused by AD. In 2014, more than 15 million family members and other unpaid caregivers provided an estimated 17.9 billion hours of care to people with AD and other dementias, a contribution valued at more than $217 billion. Average per-person Medicare payments for services to beneficiaries age 65 years with AD and other dementias are more than two and a half times as great as payments for all beneficiaries without these conditions, and Medicaid payments are 19 times as great. Total payments in 2015 for health care, long-term care and hospice services for people age 65 years with dementia are expected to be$226 billion. Among people with a diagnosis of AD or another dementia, fewer than half report having been told of the diagnosis by their health care provider. Though the benefits of a prompt, clear and accurate disclosure of an AD diagnosis are recognized by the medical profession, improvements to the disclosure process are needed. These improvements may require stronger support systems for health care providers and their patients.
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### Prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia and mild cognitive impairment: results from the cardiovascular health study.

(2002)
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may be a precursor to dementia, at least in some cases. Dementia and MCI are associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms in clinical samples. Only 2 population-based studies exist of the prevalence of these symptoms in dementia, and none exist for MCI. To estimate the prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia and MCI in a population-based study. Cross-sectional study derived from the Cardiovascular Health Study, a longitudinal cohort study. A total of 3608 participants were cognitively evaluated using data collected longitudinally over 10 years and additional data collected in 1999-2000 in 4 US counties. Dementia and MCI were classified using clinical criteria and adjudicated by committee review by expert neurologists and psychiatrists. A total of 824 individuals completed the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI); 362 were classified as having dementia, 320 as having MCI; and 142 did not meet criteria for MCI or dementia. Prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms, based on ratings on the NPI in the previous month and from the onset of cognitive symptoms. Of the 682 individuals with dementia or MCI, 43% of MCI participants (n = 138) exhibited neuropsychiatric symptoms in the previous month (29% rated as clinically significant) with depression (20%), apathy (15%), and irritability (15%) being most common. Among the dementia participants, 75% (n = 270) had exhibited a neuropsychiatric symptom in the past month (62% were clinically significant); 55% (n = 199) reported 2 or more and 44% (n = 159) 3 or more disturbances in the past month. In participants with dementia, the most frequent disturbances were apathy (36%), depression (32%), and agitation/aggression (30%). Eighty percent of dementia participants (n = 233) and 50% of MCI participants (n = 139) exhibited at least 1 NPI symptom from the onset of cognitive symptoms. There were no differences in prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms between participants with Alzheimer-type dementia and those with other dementias, with the exception of aberrant motor behavior, which was more frequent in Alzheimer-type dementia (5.4% vs 1%; P =.02). Neuropsychiatric symptoms occur in the majority of persons with dementia over the course of the disease. These are the first population-based estimates for neuropsychiatric symptoms in MCI, indicating a high prevalence associated with this condition as well. These symptoms have serious adverse consequences and should be inquired about and treated as necessary. Study of neuropsychiatric symptoms in the context of dementia may improve our understanding of brain-behavior relationships.
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### Author and article information

###### Journal
Neurobiol Stress
Neurobiol Stress
Neurobiology of Stress
Elsevier
2352-2895
28 September 2015
2015
28 September 2015
: 2
: 73-84
###### Affiliations
Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, College of Medicine, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA
###### Author notes
[]Corresponding author. Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, College of Medicine, Drexel University, 245 S. 15th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA. jar485@ 123456drexel.edu
###### Article
S2352-2895(15)30015-1
10.1016/j.ynstr.2015.09.002
4657149
26618188

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

###### Categories
Review article