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Acute effects of high-dose thyrotropin releasing hormone infusions in Alzheimer's disease.

Author(s): Mellow AM, Sunderland T, Cohen RM, Lawlor BA, Hill JL, Newhouse PA, Cohen MR, Murphy DL

Affiliation(s): Unit on Geriatric Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.

Publication date & source: 1989, Psychopharmacology (Berl)., 98(3):403-7.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

Thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) was administered intravenously to ten patients with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) in a high-dose paradigm, thought to maximize central nervous system effects and potentially produce facilitation of cholinergic function, a known property of the neuropeptide. Acute effects of TRH on behavioral, cognitive and physiologic measures were assessed after patients received 0.1 mg/kg TRH, 0.3 mg/kg TRH and placebo, the higher TRH dose and placebo being given in a randomized, double-blind fashion. Patients showed statistically significant increases in arousal and improvement in affect, as well as a modest improvement in semantic memory, all after receiving the higher TRH dose. Both TRH doses produced transient rises in systolic blood pressure, with no effect on diastolic blood pressure, heart rate or temperature. This study suggests that high-dose TRH can be safely administered to AD patients and is neurobehaviorally active; further studies are needed to determine the extent and mechanism of the cognitive and psychobiological properties of this peptide in AD and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

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