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Brain Res. 1998 Nov 30;813(1):167-71.

Reduced binding of [18F]altanserin to serotonin type 2A receptors in aging: persistence of effect after partial volume correction.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


The serotonin (5-HT) neurotransmitter system, which has a widespread distribution in the central nervous system, has been implicated in regulating mood and many human behaviors. There is evidence from postmortem human studies and limited information from prior in vivo studies to support a decline in 5-HT2A receptor density with aging. We examined nine elderly (ages 61-76) and nine young (ages 18-29) healthy individuals with positron emission tomography (PET) and [18F]altanserin, a ligand with high affinity for the 5-HT2A binding site. The PET data were corrected for differences in brain tissue volume between the young and elderly subjects using a magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-based partial volume correction method. Highly significant and widespread cortical reductions in 5-HT2A specific binding were demonstrated in the elderly group relative to young controls. Regional losses averaged 61% before and 57% following correction for effects of cerebral atrophy. This finding, which is consistent with prior postmortem and in vivo studies, has both etiological and potential therapeutic implications for behavioral changes commonly observed in the elderly, including geriatric depression.

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