UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Brain meeting: The ageing noradrenergic system (Dorothea Hammerer)

28 September 2018, 3:15 pm–4:15 pm

Event Information

Open to



Sam Ereira, Nadine Graedel and Dina Spano


4th floor seminar room, WCHN
12 Queen Square

Dorothea Hammerer


The noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC) in the brainstem, our major source of noradrenaline (NA), decreases in volume with ageing and is one of the first brain structures affected by cell pathology in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). As the LC is affected before cognitive symptoms reach clinically relevant levels, in vivo assessments of the noradrenergic system in ageing have the potential to be an important early biomarker of AD. However, also due to its small size, the LC has been notoriously difficult to investigate in vivo. Suitable in vivo imaging measures have only been developed in recent years. Today, many open questions remain with regards to the ageing noradrenergic system: Is there evidence for reduced NA function already in seemingly cognitively normal older adults? How does a reduced NA function in ageing reflect in different higher cognitive functions known to be supported by NA (memory, attention, decision making, emotional arousal)? Are in vivo measures able to capture a decline in structural LC integrity in healthy ageing? Can interindividual differences in LC integrity in older adults explain differences in cognitive functions? In my talk I will present results from MRI and pupillometric studies that address some of these questions. Moreover, I will outline the next steps I plan to take to use our new ways of assessing the NA system in vivo for interventions that aim at improving cognitive functions in early AD by targeting the NA system.

There will be coffee, tea and cake in the conservatory directly after the talk.