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BMB Rep. 2017 May;50(5):237-246.

Synapses in neurodegenerative diseases.

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Department of Biomedical Science, Graduate School, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Korea.
Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Korea.


Synapse is the basic structural and functional component for neural communication in the brain. The presynaptic terminal is the structural and functionally essential area that initiates communication and maintains the continuous functional neural information flow. It contains synaptic vesicles (SV) filled with neurotransmitters, an active zone for release, and numerous proteins for SV fusion and retrieval. The structural and functional synaptic plasticity is a representative characteristic; however, it is highly vulnerable to various pathological conditions. In fact, synaptic alteration is thought to be central to neural disease processes. In particular, the alteration of the structural and functional phenotype of the presynaptic terminal is a highly significant evidence for neural diseases. In this review, we specifically describe structural and functional alteration of nerve terminals in several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Huntington's disease (HD). [BMB Reports 2017; 50(5): 237-246].

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