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Neurochem Int. 2003 Jul;43(1):1-7.

Neurodegenerative disorders of protein aggregation.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309, USA.


In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that many neurodegenerative diseases involve aggregation and deposition of misfolded proteins such as amyloid beta, tau, alpha-synuclein and polyglutamine containing proteins. This abnormal deposition of misfolded proteins produce malfunctioning of a distinctive set of neurons. It may also induce oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress and proteosomal and mitochondrial dysfunction that ultimately leads to neuronal death. While hereditary forms of disorders are caused by genetic mutations, many sporadic cases are likely to be due to genetic and environmental factors. These disorders are progressive in nature. Therefore, treatment is difficult. However, for some diseases, a growing number of treatment options such as drugs, antioxidants, cell transplantation, surgery, rehabilitation procedures and preimplantation diagnosis is available. It should be noted that many of these treatments produce unacceptable risks or adverse effects and they are of only minimal benefit for patients. In future, an understanding of the causes of protein aggregation and genetic and environmental susceptibility factors of a specific individual (or specific individual determinants) may provide a better opportunity for an effective therapeutic intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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