Serotoninergic impairment and aggressive behavior in Alzheimer's disease

Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2005;65(3):277-86.


The overall goal of all therapeutic interventions in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is to: (a) optimize the impaired functions and (b) restore an affordable quality of life for both the patient and his surroundings. AD has been characterized by a significant serotoninergic impairment. It is well known that impaired serotoninergic function is related to aggressive behavior. We, herein, review the past and recent evidence that seems to link the serotoninergic system with aggressive manifestations in AD patients. Managing the aggressive behavior of these patients might be of significant medical, social and economical importance. However, there is still a long way to go until we verify the exact pathophysiological mechanism(s) involved in the induction of aggression in AD patients. The current data underlines a complex relationship between the observed serotoninergic impairment in AD patients and the (a) cholinergic system, (b) the endocrine (hormonal) state, (c) the nutritional habits, (d) the genetic background and (e) the caregiving environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism
  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Caregivers
  • Endocrine System / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nerve Degeneration / etiology
  • Nerve Degeneration / metabolism
  • Nutritional Status
  • Serotonin / metabolism*


  • Serotonin
  • Acetylcholine