Matter of life and death: The pharmacological approaches targeting apoptosis in brain diseases

Virve Cavallucci, Marcello D'Amelio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Neurodegenerative diseases that include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, brain trauma and spinal cord injury, are associated with the inappropriate activation of a neuronal cell-suicide program called apoptosis. Given that central nervous system tissue has very limited regenerative capacity it is of extreme importance to limit the damage caused by neuronal death. During the past decade, considerable progress has been made in understanding the process of apoptosis and, significantly, a number of studies have shown that a variety of small molecules can activate or inhibit cell death by acting on crucial checkpoints of apoptosis. Here, we review evidence linking apoptosis to brain diseases and discuss how knowledge of the mechanisms of cell death has led to novel therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-229
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Anti-apoptotic therapies
  • Cell death
  • Mitochondria
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology

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