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Recent knowledge on molecular components of Lewy bodies discloses future therapeutic strategies in Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1Department of Human Morphology and Applied Biology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy. f.fornai@med.unipi.it

Abstract

Lewy bodies (LB) were first described by Lewy in 1912 [1] as neuronal pale eosinophilic inclusions which became a pathological hallmark of Parkinson s disease (PD). In his original study, Lewy defined these inclusions as pale eosinophilic cytoplasmic structures, and studies since then have revealed LB to be ubiquitin-, alpha-synuclein-, and parkin-containing inclusions. This suggests that knowledge of the biochemical steps involved in the genesis of LB might disclose a final common pathway which might be responsible for different types of inherited and sporadic parkinsonism. This would lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets for interfering with disease progression. Although LB were originally described solely in PD, in the last decade these inclusions were described in a spectrum of degenerative disorders ranging from pure movement disorders to dementia. This suggests that common biochemical alterations leading to the formation of intracellular inclusions might underlie various pathological conditions. Consequently, the knowledge of the biochemical steps involved in the formation of neuronal inclusions could represent a key to develop new therapeutic strategies. In recent years it has been possible to develop both in vitro and in vivo neuronal inclusions resembling Lewy bodies. These experimental approaches have ranged from the use of alpha-synuclein transgenic mice to the continuous exposure to a mitochondrial complex I inhibitor. The aim of the present paper is to review briefly, recent advances on Lewy body research to achieve new insight into the etiology of PD and the molecular events leading to neurodegeneration.

PMID:
12769795
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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