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Front Aging Neurosci. 2010 May 18;2:16. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2010.00016. eCollection 2010.

Presenilin/gamma-Secretase and Inflammation.

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Institut de Neurociències, Departament Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Bellaterra, Spain.


Presenilins (PS) are the catalytic components of gamma-secretase, an aspartyl protease that regulates through proteolytic processing the function of multiple signaling proteins. Specially relevant is the gamma-secretase-dependent cleavage of the beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) since generates the beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptides that aggregate and accumulate in the brain of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Abnormal processing and/or accumulation of Abeta disrupt synaptic and metabolic processes leading to neuron dysfunction and neurodegeneration. Studies in presenilin conditional knockout mice have revealed that presenilin-1 is essential for age-dependent Abeta accumulation and inflammation. By contrast, mutations in the presenilin genes responsible for early onset familial AD cause rapid disease progression and accentuate clinical and pathological features including inflammation. In addition, a number of loss of function mutations in presenilin-1 have been recently associated to non-Alzheimer's dementias including frontotemporal dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. In agreement, total loss of presenilin function in the brain results in striking neurodegeneration and inflammation, which includes activation of glial cells and induction of proinflammatory genes, besides altered inflammatory responses in the periphery. Interestingly, some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that slow cognitive decline and reduce the risk of AD, decrease amyloidogenic Abeta42 levels by modulating allosterically PS/gamma-secretase. In this review, I present current evidence supporting a role of presenilin/gamma-secretase signaling on gliogenesis and gliosis in normal and pathological conditions. Understanding the cellular mechanisms regulated by presenilin/gamma-secretase during chronic inflammatory processes may provide new approaches for the development of effective therapeutic strategies for AD.


Alzheimer's disease; NSAID; Notch; amyloid; frontotemporal dementia; neurodegeneration; neuroinflammation

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