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Br J Pharmacol. 2012 Mar;165(5):1246-59. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01713.x.

Tau-targeted treatment strategies in Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

1
Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease Laboratory, Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia. jgoetz@uq.edu.au

Abstract

With populations ageing worldwide, the need for treating and preventing diseases associated with high age is pertinent. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is reaching epidemic proportions, yet the currently available therapies are limited to a symptomatic relief, without halting the degenerative process that characterizes the AD brain. As in AD cholinergic neurons are lost at high numbers, the initial strategies were limited to the development of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, and more recently the NMDA receptor antagonist memantine, in counteracting excitotoxicity. With the identification of the protein tau in intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and of the peptide amyloid-β (Aβ) in extracellular amyloid plaques in the AD brain, and a better understanding of their role in disease, newer strategies are emerging, which aim at either preventing their formation and deposition or at accelerating their clearance. Interestingly, what is well established to combat viral diseases in peripheral organs - vaccination - seems to work for the brain as well. Accordingly, immunization strategies targeting Aβ show efficacy in mice and to some degree also in humans. Even more surprising is the finding in mice that immunization strategies targeting tau, a protein that forms aggregates in nerve cells, ameliorates the tau-associated pathology. We are reviewing the literature and discuss what can be expected regarding the translation into clinical practice and how the findings can be extended to other neurodegenerative diseases with protein aggregation in brain.

PMID:
22044248
PMCID:
PMC3372713
DOI:
10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01713.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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