5-HT7 receptors in Alzheimer's disease

Solas, Maite; Dam, Debby Van; Janssens, Jana; Ocariz, U.; Vermeiren, Yannick; Deyn, Peter Paul De; Ramirez, Maria J.


Even though the involvement of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) and its receptors in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is widely accepted, data on the expression and the role of 5-HT7 receptors in AD is relatively limited. Therefore, the objective of the present work was to study the expression of serotonergic 5-HT7 receptors in postmortem samples of AD brains and correlate it with neurotransmitter levels, cognition and behavior. The study population consisted of clinically well-characterized and neuropathologically confirmed AD patients (n = 42) and age-matched control subjects (n = 18). Reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and high-performance liquid chromatography were performed on Brodmann area (BA) 7, BA10, BA22, BA24, hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus and cerebellum to measure mRNA levels of 5-HT7 receptors (HTR7), as well as the concentrations of various monoamine neurotransmitters and their metabolites. Decreased levels of HTR7 mRNA were observed in BA10. A significant association was observed between HTR7 levels in BA10 and BEHAVE-AD cluster B (hallucinations) (rs(28) = 0.444, P < 0.05). In addition, a negative correlation was observed between HTR7 levels in BA10 and both MHPG concentrations in this brain region (rs(45) = -0.311; P < 0.05), and DOPAC levels in the amygdala (rs(42) = -0.311; P < 0.05). Quite surprisingly, no association was found between HTR7 levels and cognitive status. Altogether, this study supports the notion of the involvement of 5-HT7 receptors in psychotic symptoms in AD, suggesting the interest of testing antagonist acting at this receptor to specifically treat psychotic symptoms in this illness.