Age-related changes in multiple neurotransmitter systems in the monkey brain.


Age-associated changes in cholinergic, monoaminergic and amino acid neurotransmitter systems were analyzed in 14 brain regions of 23 rhesus monkeys that ranged in age from 2 to 37 years. In the frontal pole, the levels of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity, the density of [3H]ketanserin (serotonin type-2) binding sites and endogenous levels of dopamine, homovanillic acid and serotonin, all expressed per milligram of protein, decreased significantly with aging. In precentral motor cortex, ChAT activity decreased; in parietal and occipital cortex, the number of [3H]ketanserin binding sites decreased while the number of Na+-independent [3H]glutamate binding sites increased with age. In the caudate nucleus, endogenous levels of norepinephrine decreased. This descriptive study indicates that the aging monkey may be a very useful model for future investigations of age-associated transmitter abnormalities similar to those that occur in humans.

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