5. Therapeutic Targets

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease for which no cure exists. There is a substantial need for new therapies that offer improved symptomatic benefit and disease-slowing capabilities. In recent decades there has been substantial progress in understanding the molecular and cellular changes associated with Alzheimer's disease pathology. This has resulted in identification of a large number of new drug targets. These targets include, but are not limited to, therapies that aim to prevent production of or remove the amyloid-beta protein that accumulates in neuritic plaques; to prevent the hyperphosphorylation and aggregation into paired helical filaments of the microtubule-associated protein tau; and to keep neurons alive and functioning normally in the face of these pathologic challenges. We provide a review of these targets for drug development.

This session the various therapies or therapeutic targets characterized by an altered glutamatergic activation, and glutamate which can promote both Ca(2+) and Zn(2+) dyshomeostasis. The two cations can operate synergistically to promote the generation of free radicals that further intracellular Ca(2+) and Zn(2+) rises and set the stage for a self-perpetuating harmful loop. These phenomena can be the initial steps in the pathogenic cascade leading to AD, therefore, therapeutic interventions aiming at preventing Ca(2+) and Zn(2+) dyshomeostasis may offer a great opportunity for disease-modifying strategies.

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