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Ther Umsch. 2010 Feb;67(2):63-7. doi: 10.1024/0040-5930/a000012.

[Delirium is a very common and life-threatening condition].

[Article in German]

Author information

1
Medizinische Klinik 2, Schwerpunkt Geriatrie, Klinikum Nürnberg, Deutschland, Lehrstuhl für Geriatrie, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg. katrin.singler@klinikum-nuernberg.de

Abstract

Although a lot is known regarding the epidemiology and aetiology of this condition, the pathophysiology of delirium remains poorly understood. Today, the leading hypothesized mechanism for the pathogenesis of delirium focuses on a central cholinergic deficiency and dopamine excess. Besides, other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) may also contribute to delirium. Moreover, cytokines including interleukin-1, interleukin-2, interleukin-6, interferon and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) can lead to an imbalance among the different neurotransmitters and thereby lead to an activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis (HPA axis). The article reviews the current pathophysiological findings that may underly delirious states.

PMID:
20131213
DOI:
10.1024/0040-5930/a000012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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