Acetylcholine

The neurotransmitter Ach is responsible for transmitting messages between certain nerve cells in the brain. In AD, the plaques and tangles damage these pathways, leading to a shortage of Ach, resulting in learning and memory impairment.16 The loss of Ach activity correlates with the severity of AD. The basis of pharmacologic treatment of AD has been to improve cholinergic neurotrans-mission in the brain. Acetylcholinesterase is the enzyme that degrades Ach in the synaptic cleft. Blocking this enzyme leads to an increased level of Ach with a goal of stabilizing neurotransmission.17

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