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Neurotherapeutics. 2008 Jul;5(3):421-32. doi: 10.1016/j.nurt.2008.05.001.

Therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease based on the metal hypothesis.

Author information

1
The Mental Health Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia. bush@helix.mgh.harvard.edu

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia in the elderly, and it is characterized by elevated brain iron levels and accumulation of copper and zinc in cerebral beta-amyloid deposits (e.g., senile plaques). Both ionic zinc and copper are able to accelerate the aggregation of Abeta, the principle component of beta-amyloid deposits. Copper (and iron) can also promote the neurotoxic redox activity of Abeta and induce oxidative cross-linking of the peptide into stable oligomers. Recent reports have documented the release of Abeta together with ionic zinc and copper in cortical glutamatergic synapses after excitation. This, in turn, leads to the formation of Abeta oligomers, which, in turn, modulates long-term potentiation by controlling synaptic levels of the NMDA receptor. The excessive accumulation of Abeta oligomers in the synaptic cleft would then be predicted to adversely affect synaptic neurotransmission. Based on these findings, we have proposed the "Metal Hypothesis of Alzheimer's Disease," which stipulates that the neuropathogenic effects of Abeta in Alzheimer's disease are promoted by (and possibly even dependent on) Abeta-metal interactions. Increasingly sophisticated pharmaceutical approaches are now being implemented to attenuate abnormal Abeta-metal interactions without causing systemic disturbance of essential metals. Small molecules targeting Abeta-metal interactions (e.g., PBT2) are currently advancing through clinical trials and show increasing promise as disease-modifying agents for Alzheimer's disease based on the "metal hypothesis."

PMID:
18625454
PMCID:
PMC2518205
DOI:
10.1016/j.nurt.2008.05.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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