Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an age-related neurodegenerative disease and the most common
cause of dementia. The etiology of AD is not entirely clear and despite the increasing knowledge
regarding the pathomechanism, no effective disease-modifying therapy is yet available. Astrocytes
earlier presumed to serve merely supportive roles for the neuronal network, have recently been shown
to play an active role in the synaptic dysfunction, impairment of homeostasis, inflammation as well as
excitotoxicity in relation to AD pathology. This review focuses on the pathomechanism of AD with
special attention to the role of the astrocytes, excitotoxicity and the alterations in the kynurenine metabolism
in the development of the disease. The correction of the neuroprotective/neurotoxic imbalance in the kynurenine
pathway may represent a novel target for pharmaceutical interventions in dementia related to neurodegenerative disorders.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid, astrocytes, excitotoxicity, glutamate, kynurenines.
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