The role of the Wnt canonical signaling in neurodegenerative diseases

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Wnt/β-catenin or Wnt canonical pathway controls multiple biological processes throughout development and adult life. Growing evidences have suggested that deregulation of the Wnt canonical pathway could be involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. The Wnt canonical signaling is a pathway tightly regulated, which activation results in the inhibition of the Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3β (GSK-3β) function and in increased β-catenin activity, that migrates into the nucleus, activating the transcription of the Wnt target genes. Conversely, when the Wnt canonical pathway is turned off, increased levels of GSK-3β promote β-catenin degradation. Hence, GSK-3β could be considered as a key regulator of the Wnt canonical pathway. Of note, GSK-3β has also been involved in the modulation of inflammation and apoptosis, determining the delicate balance between immune tolerance/inflammation and neuronal survival/neurodegeneration. In this review, we have summarized the current acknowledgements about the role of the Wnt canonical pathway in the pathogenesis of some neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, cerebral ischemia, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, with particular regard to the main in vitro and in vivo studies in this field, by reviewing 85 research articles about.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-88
Number of pages11
JournalLife Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Glycogen synthase kinase 3β
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Wnt canonical signaling
  • Wnt/β-catenin pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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