Effect of donepezil on transcranial magnetic stimulation parameters in Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2018 Mar 2:4:103-107. doi: 10.1016/j.trci.2018.02.001. eCollection 2018.


Introduction: There is a need for a reliable, noninvasive biomarker for Alzheimer's disease (AD). We assessed whether short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI), a transcranial magnetic stimulation paradigm that assesses cholinergic circuits of the brain, could become such a biomarker.

Methods: Nineteen patients with AD underwent four SAI testing sessions. The timing of their usual donepezil dose was altered to create different cholinergic states for each session. This was compared to the SAI results from 20 healthy subjects.

Results: SAI was not able to distinguish the different cholinergic states assessed in our study. There appeared to be a diurnal variation in cholinergic function in the control group, which was not present in the AD cohort.

Discussion: SAI does not appear to have a role in diagnosis and assessment of AD patients. The loss of diurnal variation, however, warrants further investigation as it may provide further biochemical insights about AD.

Keywords: Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor; Alzheimer's disease; Donepezil; Response to treatment; Short-latency afferent inhibition; Transcranial magnetic stimulation.