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Neuroreport. 1994 Mar 21;5(7):747-9.

Neocortical cholinergic activities differentiate Lewy body dementia from classical Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1MRC Neurochemical Pathology Unit, Newcastle General Hospital, UK.


Activity of the enzyme which synthesizes acetylcholine, choline acetyltransferase, was estimated in the neocortex of three series of control and demented cases. Clinically demented cases were divided into those with the classical neuropathological features of Alzheimer's disease (numerous neocortical plaques and tangles) and those with Lewy bodies in the brain stem and cortex (together with plaques and variable neurofibrillary pathology). In the Lewy body cases neocortical choline acetyltransferase was consistently lower than in the classical Alzheimer-type cases. Two of the Lewy body cases with extremely low cholinergic activity were responders in therapeutic trials of the cholinesterase inhibitor, tacrine, and the combined data suggest that cholinergic therapy may be particularly relevant to patients with Lewy body type dementia.

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