Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 150
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825401

Pharmako-FMRT in Alzheimers dementia

T Kircher 1, M Erb 2, W Grodd 2, D Leube 1
  • 1Universitätsklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Tübingen
  • 2Sektion für MRT des ZNS, Tübingen

Choline esterase inhibitors are the therapy of choice for patients in the beginning stages of AD (1). The neural correlates of its pharmacological action however remain elusive. In the currrent presentation, we will briefly summarise imaging findings on ChE inhibitors in AD. In our own fMRI study we investigated the change of neural activation during a face-encoding task before and ten weeks after therapeutic administration of donepezil in 10 AD patients. We detected an increased right medial-temporal (fusiform gyrus) activation in patients after a ten week treatment with donepezil. In a previous study we found these areas to be crucially involved in a face encoding task in young healthy subjects (3). Cholinergic function on cortical activation during a memory task has previously been demonstrated in healthy controls (2). We could demonstrate such an effect under clinical conditions in AD patients. We suggest that cholinergic enhancement contributes to a enhanced focussing of cortical activation to task-related areas in AD patients and therfore improves cognitive function.

(1) Winblad et al. Neurology 2001 Aug 14;57(3):489–95

(2) Furey et al. Science 2000 Dec 22;290(5500):2315–9

(3) Leube et al. Neuroreport 2001 Aug 28;12(12):2773–7