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J Mol Neurosci. 2004;24(3):343-52.

The Role of alpha-synuclein assembly and metabolism in the pathogenesis of Lewy body disease.

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Department of Neurosciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0624, USA.


Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are members of a family of disorders characterized by the presence of inclusion bodies, or Lewy bodies (LBs), filled with aggregates of alpha-synuclein. These diseases are a leading cause of movement disorders and dementia in the aging population, and it is crucial to understand the factors leading to the accumulation and assembly of these alpha-synuclein aggregates. Previous studies have uncovered much about the factors leading to aggregation and the mechanisms causing neurotoxicity of these inclusion bodies; however, little is known about factors that promote the degradation and prevent the aggregation of alpha-synuclein. The present article provides a review of recent efforts in the investigation of factors involved in alpha-synuclein metabolism and the mechanisms involved in preventing accumulation of alpha-synuclein and degrading this molecule. Understanding these processes might provide targets for the development of novel therapies for disorders such as DLB and PD.

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