The neurochemistry of vascular dementia

Dementia. 1994 May-Aug;5(3-4):163-7. doi: 10.1159/000106715.


Vascular dementia (VAD) is cognitive impairment caused by changes in the blood circulation of the brain. It is not synonymous with multi-infarct dementia. The latter is a subgroup of VAD. Neurochemical investigations of noninfarcted brain tissue from patients with VAD show general changes in VAD brains. The serotonin metabolism is severely reduced and so is the activity of choline acetyltransferase. Monamine oxidase B is significantly increased in the white matter. A severe decrease in myelin components indicates white matter disturbances of such a degree that they must be considered to be of pathogenetic importance. The levels of some neuropeptides in the hypothalamus are increased. This is a finding which is in agreement with clinical findings of a high activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in patients with VAD. This high activity is possibly due to a loss of serotonergic inhibitory tone on the hypothalamus in VAD brains.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Dementia, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Dementia, Vascular / pathology
  • Humans