[The role of proteins in neurodegenerative disease].Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2012 Apr 16; 66:187-95.PH
All neurodegenerative diseases are related to pathology and accumulation of proteins. Proteins are basic structural and functional components of each cell and their functions are associated with their amino acid composition and spatial structure. The proper functioning of protein is necessary for the proper operation of the body system. In the case of disorders of proteins' spatial structure, the development of pathological processes may occur. Accumulation of abnormal proteins is toxic to nerve cells and causes neurodegeneration. Different disorders are characterized by abnormalities of various proteins. This type of neurodegenerative diseases includes Parkinson's disease, tauopathies, Alzheimer's disease, and prion diseases. Parkinson's disease is characterized by toxicity of α-synuclein. The pathology of tau protein is specific for tauopathies, prion protein for prion diseases. In the case of Alzheimer's disease it is β-amyloid. All proteins responsible for the pathology are present in the physiological state in the organism. Damage to the area of the brain covered by the pathological process and the clinical symptoms are characteristic for a particular type of disease. Detailed knowledge of the mechanisms of the disease can be an important element in the development of effective ways of treatment.