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Neurosci Lett. 1997 Feb 7;222(3):183-6.

Similar deficits of central histaminergic system in patients with Down syndrome and Alzheimer disease.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Vienna, Austria.


In order to study whether Alzheimer-like neuropathological changes involve the central histaminergic system we measured the concentration of histamine, its precursor histidine as well as the activity of histidine decarboxylase (HDC) and histamine-N-methyl-transferase (HMT) in frontal cortex of aging Down syndrome (DS) patients, Alzheimer patients and control individuals. The study populations were also investigated for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity, since reduced ChAT activity is an established biochemical hallmark in DS and Alzheimer disease (AD). HDC and ChAT activity were reduced in brains of both DS and Alzheimer patients versus control patients. Additionally, we observed a significant decrease of histamine levels in the DS group. Histamine levels in AD brains tended to be decreased. Histidine concentrations and HMT activities were comparable between the three groups. Thus, our results for the first time show histaminergic deficits in brains of patients with DS resembling the neurochemical pattern in AD. Neuropathological changes may be responsible for similar neurochemical alterations of the histaminergic system in both dementing disorders.

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