Dr. Ron’s Research Review – May 18, 2011

This week’s research review focuses on zinc in Alzheimer's disease.

The role of zinc in Alzheimer's disease

            (Watt, Whitehouse et al. 2010)

Zinc is released into the synaptic cleft of glutamatergic neurons alongside glutamate from where it interacts and modulates NMDA and AMPA receptors.

Zinc is critical in the enzymatic nonamyloidogenic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and in the enzymatic degradation of the amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptide. Zinc binds to Abeta promoting its aggregation into neurotoxic species, and disruption of zinc homeostasis in the brain results in synaptic and memory deficits.

Dr. Ron


Articles

The role of zinc in Alzheimer's disease

            (Watt, Whitehouse et al. 2010) Download

Zinc, the most abundant trace metal in the brain, has numerous functions, both in health and in disease. Zinc is released into the synaptic cleft of glutamatergic neurons alongside glutamate from where it interacts and modulates NMDA and AMPA receptors. In addition, zinc has multifactorial functions in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Zinc is critical in the enzymatic nonamyloidogenic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and in the enzymatic degradation of the amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptide. Zinc binds to Abeta promoting its aggregation into neurotoxic species, and disruption of zinc homeostasis in the brain results in synaptic and memory deficits. Thus, zinc dyshomeostasis may have a critical role to play in the pathogenesis of AD, and the chelation of zinc is a potential therapeutic approach.

References

Watt, N. T., I. J. Whitehouse, et al. (2010). "The role of zinc in Alzheimer's disease." Int J Alzheimers Dis 2011: 971021.