The cytoskeleton as a novel therapeutic target for old neurodegenerative disorders

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Abstract

Cytoskeleton defects, including alterations in microtubule stability, in axonal transport as well as in actin dynamics, have been characterized in several unrelated neurodegenerative conditions. These observations suggest that defects of cytoskeleton organization may be a common feature contributing to neurodegeneration. In line with this hypothesis, drugs targeting the cytoskeleton are currently being tested in animal models and in human clinical trials, showing promising effects. Drugs that modulate microtubule stability, inhibitors of posttranslational modifications of cytoskeletal components, specifically compounds affecting the levels of tubulin acetylation, and compounds targeting signaling molecules which regulate cytoskeleton dynamics, constitute the mostly addressed therapeutic interventions aiming at preventing cytoskeleton damage in neurodegenerative disorders. In this review, we will discuss in a critical perspective the current knowledge on cytoskeleton damage pathways as well as therapeutic strategies designed to revert cytoskeleton-related defects mainly focusing on the following neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease.

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