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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2012 Feb;2(2):a009399. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a009399.

α-Synuclein in Parkinson's disease.

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Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, and Second Department of Neurology, University of Athens Medical School, Athens 11527, Greece.


α-Synuclein is a presynaptic neuronal protein that is linked genetically and neuropathologically to Parkinson's disease (PD). α-Synuclein may contribute to PD pathogenesis in a number of ways, but it is generally thought that its aberrant soluble oligomeric conformations, termed protofibrils, are the toxic species that mediate disruption of cellular homeostasis and neuronal death, through effects on various intracellular targets, including synaptic function. Furthermore, secreted α-synuclein may exert deleterious effects on neighboring cells, including seeding of aggregation, thus possibly contributing to disease propagation. Although the extent to which α-synuclein is involved in all cases of PD is not clear, targeting the toxic functions conferred by this protein when it is dysregulated may lead to novel therapeutic strategies not only in PD, but also in other neurodegenerative conditions, termed synucleinopathies.

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