Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2008 Jul;63(7):764-72.

Cholinergic deficiency hypothesis in delirium: a synthesis of current evidence.

Author information

  • 1Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.

Abstract

Deficits in cholinergic function have been postulated to cause delirium and cognitive decline. This review examines current understanding of the cholinergic deficiency hypothesis in delirium by synthesizing evidence on potential pathophysiological pathways. Acetylcholine synthesis involves various precursors, enzymes, and receptors, and dysfunction in these components can lead to delirium. Insults to the brain, like ischemia and immunological stressors, can precipitously alter acetylcholine levels. Imbalances between cholinergic and other neurotransmitter pathways may result in delirium. Furthermore, genetic, enzymatic, and immunological overlaps exist between delirium and dementia related to the cholinergic pathway. Important areas for future research include identifying biomarkers, determining genetic contributions, and evaluating response to cholinergic drugs in delirium. Understanding how the cholinergic pathway relates to delirium may yield innovative approaches in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of this common, costly, and morbid condition.

PMID:
18693233
PMCID:
PMC2917793
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk