Why patients with Alzheimer's disease may show increased sensitivity to tropicamide eye drops: role of locus coeruleus

Hou, R.H., Samuels, E.R., Raisi, M., Langley, R.W., Szabadi, E. and Bradshaw, C.M. (2006) Why patients with Alzheimer's disease may show increased sensitivity to tropicamide eye drops: role of locus coeruleus Psychopharmacology, 184, (1), pp. 95-106. (doi:10.1007/s00213-005-0227-9).


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Rationale Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may show increased sensitivity to tropicamide, a muscarinic cholinoceptor antagonist. AD is associated with a severe loss of noradrenergic neurones in the locus coeruleus (LC), which can be “switched off” experimentally by the ?2-adrenoceptor agonist clonidine. The possibility arises that increased pupillary sensitivity to tropicamide in AD may be due to diminished LC activity.
Objective To examine the hypothesis that clonidine may potentiate tropicamide-evoked mydriasis.
Materials and methods Sixteen healthy male volunteers participated in two experimental sessions (0.2 mg clonidine or placebo) conducted 1 week apart. In each session tropicamide (0.01% 10 ?l×2) was applied to the left eye and artificial tear (10 ?l×2) was applied to the right eye. Pupillary functions (resting pupil diameter and light and darkness reflexes), alertness and non-pupillary autonomic functions (blood pressure, heart rate, core temperature and salivary output) were measured. Data were analysed by ANOVA, with multiple comparisons.
Results Tropicamide increased resting pupil diameter, velocity and amplitude of the darkness reflex response, and decreased recovery time of the light reflex response. Clonidine affected all these pupillary measures in the opposite direction with the exception of the recovery time. The mydriatic response to tropicamide was potentiated by pre-treatment with clonidine. Clonidine reduced critical flicker fusion frequency, subjective alertness, blood pressure, salivation and temperature.
Conclusions The potentiation of tropicamide-evoked pupil dilatation by clonidine may be due to the abolition of the increase in parasympathetically mediated pupil constriction due to reduced LC activity.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1007/s00213-005-0227-9
ISSNs: 0033-3158 (print)
Keywords: mydriatics, humans, blood pressure, physiology, adrenergic alpha-agonists, cross-over studies, blood, drug effects, double-blind method, drug synergism, adult, locus coeruleus

ePrint ID: 62418
Date :
Date Event
January 2006Published
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:29
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/62418

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