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Curr Drug Targets. 2010 Oct;11(10):1193-206.

Multiple defects in energy metabolism in Alzheimer's disease.

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Center for Neuroscience and Cellular Biology, University of Coimbra, Portugal.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia in old age. Cognitive impairment in AD may be partially due to overall hypometabolism. Indeed, AD is characterized by an early region-specific decline in glucose utilization and by mitochondrial dysfunction, which have deleterious consequences for neurons through increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), ATP depletion and activation of cell death processes. In this article, we provide an overview of the alterations on energetic metabolism occurring in AD. First, we resume the evidences that link the 'metabolic syndrome' with increased risk for developing AD and revisit the major changes occurring on both extra-mitochondrial and mitochondrial metabolic pathways, as revealed by imaging studies and biochemical analysis of brain and peripheral samples obtained from AD patients. We also cover the recent findings on cellular and animal models that highlight mitochondrial dysfunction as a fundamental mechanism in AD pathogenesis. Recent evidence posits that mitochondrial abnormalities in this neurodegenerative disorder are associated with changes in mitochondrial dynamics and can be induced by amyloid-beta (Aβ) that progressively accumulates within this organelle, acting as a direct toxin. Furthermore, Aβ induces activation of glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) and/or excessive release of calcium from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) that may underlie mitochondrial calcium dyshomeostasis thereby disturbing organelle functioning and, ultimately, damaging neurons. Throughout the review, we further discuss several therapeutic strategies aimed to restore neuronal metabolic function in cellular and animal models of AD, some of which have reached the stage of clinical trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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