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Biomed J. 2013 Mar-Apr;36(2):40-50. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.110365.

Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways in neurological diseases.

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Department of Neurology and the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is an essential cellular signaling pathway involved in a number of important physiological functions, including cell growth, proliferation, metabolism, protein synthesis, and autophagy. Dysregulation of the mTOR pathway has been implicated in the pathophysiology of a number of neurological diseases. Hyperactivation of the mTOR pathway, leading to increased cell growth and proliferation, has been most convincingly shown to stimulate tumor growth in the brain and other organs in the genetic disorder, tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). In addition, mTOR may also play a role in promoting epileptogenesis or maintaining seizures in TSC, as well as in acquired epilepsies following brain injury. Finally, the mTOR pathway may also be involved in the pathogenesis of cognitive dysfunction and other neurological deficits in developmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. mTOR inhibitors, such as rapamycin and its analogs, may represent novel, rational therapies for a variety of neurological disorders.

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