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Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2011 Sep;15(9):1085-97. doi: 10.1517/14728222.2011.594043. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Nuclear receptors as therapeutic targets for Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Department of Neurosciences, Alzheimer Research Laboratory, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.



Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the accumulation and extensive deposition of amyloid β (Aβ) in the parenchyma of the brain. This accumulation of amyloid is associated with perturbations in synaptic function, impairments in energy metabolism and induction of a chronic inflammatory response which acts to promote neuronal loss and cognitive impairment.


Currently, there are no drugs that target the underlying mechanisms of AD. Here, we propose a class of nuclear receptors as novel and promising new therapeutic targets for AD. This review summarizes the literature on nuclear receptors and their effects on AD-related pathophysiology.


Nuclear receptors are attractive targets for the treatment of AD due to their ability to facilitate degradation of Aβ, affect microglial activation and suppress the inflammatory milieu of the brain. Liver X receptor agonists have proven difficult to move into clinical trials as long-term treatment results in hepatic steatosis. It is our view that PPAR-γ activation remains a promising avenue for the treatment for AD; however, the poor BBB permeability of the currently available agonists and the negative outcome of the Phase III clinical trials are likely to diminish interest in pursuing this target.

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