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Rev Neurosci. 1997 Jul-Dec;8(3-4):223-65.

Apoptosis, neurotrophic factors and neurodegeneration.

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Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, Medicine and Health Sciences Campus, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.


Apoptosis is an active process of cell death characterized by distinct morphological features, and is often the end result of a genetic programme of events, i.e. programmed cell death (PCD). There is growing evidence supporting a role for apoptosis in some neurodegenerative diseases. This conclusion is based on DNA fragmentation studies and findings of increased levels of pro-apoptotic genes in human brain and in in vivo and in vitro model systems. Additionally, there is some evidence for a loss of neurotrophin support in neurodegenerative diseases. In Alzheimer's disease, in particular, there is strong evidence from human brain studies, transgenic models and in vitro models to suggest that the mode of nerve cell death is apoptotic. In this review we describe the evidence implicating apoptosis in neurodegenerative diseases with a particular emphasis on Alzheimer's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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