[Apoptosis in neurodegenerative diseases: facts and controversies].Rev Neurol 2001 May 1-15; 32(9):851-60RN
In this article, the authors analyzed critically the morphological and biochemical evidences of cell death by apoptosis from postmortem studies in Alzheimer s, Parkinson s, Huntington s and Wilson s diseases.
During the last few years, apoptosis has been postulated as a type of neuronal death responsible for the neurodegenerative process in those heterogeneous, chronic and progressive neurological disorders, which are characterized by a selective and a symmetric loss of neurons in motor, sensory or cognitive systems. With regard to neuronal death mechanism and the contribution of the mutated or metabolic altered proteins such as betaA, P-tau, alpha-synuclein, Parkin, Huntingtin, ATP78B, proteins in the pathogenesis of those disorders are still unknown.
We consider that the morphological (e.g. DNA fragmentation without showing classical apoptotic morphology) and biochemical evidences are still insufficient and contradictory to formally indict apoptosis as the mechanism of neuronal cell death in those neurological disorders. The establishment of the molecular mechanisms leading neurons to cell death (by apoptosis?) could provide significant information for the design of therapeutic strategies to retard or prevent the development of such neurodegenerative diseases in affected individuals.