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Adrenergic Drugs Blockers or Enhancers for Cognitive Decline ? What to Choose for Alzheimer’s Disease Patients?

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 6 ]


Grazia D. Femminella, Dario Leosco, Nicola Ferrara and Giuseppe Rengo   Pages 665 - 671 ( 7 )


The adrenergic system has an important role in normal central nervous system function as well as in brain disease. The locus coeruleus, the main source of norepinephrine in brain, is involved in the regulation of learning and memory, reinforcement of sleep-wake cycle and synaptic plasticity. In Alzheimer’s disease, locus coeruleus degeneration is observed early in the course of the disease, years before the onset of clinical cognitive signs, with neurofibrillary detected at the stage of mild cognitive impairment, preceding amyloid deposition. Thus, in the last years, a great interest has grown in evaluating the possibility of central adrenergic system modulation as a therapeutic tool in Alzheimer’s disease. However, evidences do not show univocal results, with some studies suggesting that adrenergic stimulation might be beneficial in Alzheimer’s Disease and some others favoring adrenergic blockade. In this review, we summarize data from both hypothesis and describe the pathophysiological role of the adrenergic system in neurodegeneration.


Adrenergic receptors, Alzheimer’s disease, beta-blockers, functional recovery, locus coeruleus, neurodegeneration.


Department of Translational Medical Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Via Sergio Pansini 5, 80131, Naples Italy.

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