Loss of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 in the prefrontal cortex is correlated with cognitive decline in Alzheimer disease

Neurobiol Aging. 2008 Nov;29(11):1619-30. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2007.04.010. Epub 2007 May 24.


Several lines of evidence suggest that the glutamatergic system is severely impaired in Alzheimer disease (AD). Here, we assessed the status of glutamatergic terminals in AD using the first available specific markers, the vesicular glutamate transporters VGLUT1 and VGLUT2. We quantified VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 in the prefrontal dorsolateral cortex (Brodmann area 9) of controls and AD patients using specific antiserums. A dramatic decrease in VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 was observed in AD using Western blot. Similar decreases were observed in an independent group of subjects using immunoautoradiography. The VGLUT1 reduction was highly correlated with the degree of cognitive impairment, assessed with the clinical dementia rating (CDR) score. A significant albeit weaker correlation was also observed with VGLUT2. These findings provide evidence indicating that glutamatergic systems are severely impaired in the A9 region of AD patients and that this impairment is strongly correlated with the progression of cognitive decline. Our results suggest that VGLUT1 expression in the prefrontal cortex could be used as a valuable neurochemical marker of dementia in AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 1 / metabolism*
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2 / metabolism*


  • SLC17A7 protein, human
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 1
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2