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Aging (Milano). 1998 Aug;10(4):316-23.

Serotonin-immune interactions in elderly volunteers and in patients with Alzheimer's disease (DAT): lower plasma tryptophan availability to the brain in the elderly and increased serum interleukin-6 in DAT.

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1
Clinical Research Center for Mental Health, Antwerp, Belgium.

Abstract

The aims of this study were to examine the plasma availability of tryptophan, the precursor of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), and serum cytokines, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-8, in normal elderly volunteers and in patients with Alzheimer's disease (DAT). Elderly normal volunteers (mean age = 78.3 +/- 5.7 years) had a significantly lower tryptophan/competing amino acids (valine + leucine + isoleucine + phenylalanine + tyrosine) ratio than younger subjects (mean age = 32.9 +/- 8.1 years). In normal volunteers, there were significant and inverse relationships between age and either plasma tryptophan or the tryptophan/competing amino acids ratio, and between the availability of tryptophan to the brain and serum IL-6 or IL-8. DAT patients had significantly higher serum IL-6, but not IL-8, than age-matched normal volunteers. There were no significant differences in the availability of tryptophan to the brain between DAT patients and age-matched normal volunteers. The results suggest that: 1) in normal humans, the availability of plasma tryptophan to the brain decreases with age, and with activation of the immune system; and 2) increased production of IL-6 may play a role in the pathogenesis of DAT.

PMID:
9825023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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