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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2008 Apr;12(2):222-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2008.02.019.

Metals in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

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  • 1Bio21 Molecular Science & Biotechnology Institute, Department of Pathology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.


There has been steadily growing interest in the participation of metal ions (especially, zinc, copper, and iron) in neurobiological processes, such as the regulation of synaptic transmission. Recent descriptions of the release of zinc and copper in the cortical glutamatergic synapse, and influencing the response of the NMDA receptor underscore the relevance of understanding the inorganic milieu of the synapse to neuroscience. Additionally, major neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, are characterized by elevated tissue iron, and miscompartmentalization of copper and zinc (e.g. accumulation in amyloid). Increasingly sophisticated medicinal chemistry approaches, which correct these metal abnormalities without causing systemic disturbance of these essential minerals, are being tested. These small molecules show promise of being disease-modifying.

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