Navigating Alzheimer’s Disease via Chronic Stress: The Role of Glucocorticoids

Author(s): Vivek Kumar Sharma, Thakur Gurjeet Singh*.

Journal Name: Current Drug Targets

Volume 21 , Issue 5 , 2020

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Graphical Abstract:


Abstract:

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic intensifying incurable progressive disease leading to neurological deterioration manifested as impairment of memory and executive brain functioning affecting the physical ability like intellectual brilliance, common sense in patients. The recent therapeutic approach in Alzheimer's disease is only the symptomatic relief further emerging the need for therapeutic strategies to be targeted in managing the underlying silent killing progression of dreaded pathology. Therefore, the current research direction is focused on identifying the molecular mechanisms leading to the evolution of the understanding of the neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease. The resultant saturation in the area of current targets (amyloid β, τ Protein, oxidative stress etc.) has led the scientific community to rethink of the mechanistic neurodegenerative pathways and reprogram the current research directions. Although, the role of stress has been recognized for many years and contributing to the development of cognitive impairment, the area of stress has got the much-needed impetus recently and is being recognized as a modifiable menace for AD. Stress is an unavoidable human experience that can be resolved and normalized but chronic activation of stress pathways unsettle the physiological status. Chronic stress mediated activation of neuroendocrine stimulation is generally linked to a high risk of developing AD. Chronic stress-driven physiological dysregulation and hypercortisolemia intermingle at the neuronal level and leads to functional (hypometabolism, excitotoxicity, inflammation) and anatomical remodeling of the brain architecture (senile plaques, τ tangles, hippocampal atrophy, retraction of spines) ending with severe cognitive deterioration. The present review is an effort to collect the most pertinent evidence that support chronic stress as a realistic and modifiable therapeutic earmark for AD and to advocate glucocorticoid receptors as therapeutic interventions.

Keywords: Stress, glucocorticoids, HPA axis, Alzheimer's disease, inflammation, amyloid β, neurodegeneration.

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