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Cell Tissue Res. 2003 Apr;312(1):1-8. Epub 2003 Mar 26.

Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) and neuronal cell death.

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Department of Neurology, University Hospital Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Str. 40, 37075, Göttingen, Germany.


Many neurological disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or stroke have in common a definite loss of CNS neurons due to apoptotic or necrotic neuronal cell death. Previous studies suggested that proapoptotic stimuli may trigger an abortive and, therefore, eventually fatal cell cycle reentry in postmitotic neurons. Neuroprotective effects of small molecule inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), which are key regulators of cell cycle progression, support the cell cycle theory of neuronal apoptosis. However, growing evidence suggests that deregulated CDK5, which is not involved in cell cycle control, rather than cell cycle relevant members of the CDK family, promotes neuronal cell death. Here we summarize the current knowledge about the involvement of CDK5 in neuronal cell death and discuss possible up- or downstream partners of CDK5. Moreover, we discuss potential therapeutic options that might arise from the identification of CDK5 as an important upstream element of neuronal cell death cascades.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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