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Current Neuropharmacology


ISSN (Print): 1570-159X
ISSN (Online): 1875-6190

Calcium-Sensing Receptors of Human Astrocyte-Neuron Teams: Amyloid-β-Driven Mediators and Therapeutic Targets of Alzheimer's Disease

Author(s): I. Dal Pra, A. Chiarini, R. Pacchiana, E. Gardenal, B. Chakravarthy, J. F. Whitfield and U. Armato

Volume 12 , Issue 4 , 2014

Page: [353 - 364] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/1570159X12666140828214701

Price: $65


It is generally assumed that the neuropathology of sporadic (late-onset or nonfamilial) Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is driven by the overproduction and spreading of first Amyloid-βx-42 (Aβ42) and later hyperphosphorylated (hp)-Tau oligomeric “infectious seeds”. Hitherto, only neurons were held to make and spread both oligomer types; astrocytes would just remove debris. However, we have recently shown that exogenous fibrillar or soluble Aβ peptides specifically bind and activate the Ca2+-sensing receptors (CaSRs) of untransformed human cortical adult astrocytes and postnatal neurons cultured in vitro driving them to produce, accrue, and secrete surplus endogenous Aβ42. While the Aβ-exposed neurons start dying, astrocytes survive and keep oversecreting Aβ42, nitric oxide (NO), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A. Thus astrocytes help neurons’ demise. Moreover, we have found that a highly selective allosteric CaSR agonist (“calcimimetic”), NPS R-568, mimics the just mentioned neurotoxic actions triggered by Aβ•CaSR signaling. Contrariwise, and most important, NPS 2143, a highly selective allosteric CaSR antagonist (“calcilytic”), fully suppresses all the Aβ•CaSR signaling-driven noxious actions. Altogether our findings suggest that the progression of AD neuropathology is promoted by unceasingly repeating cycles of accruing exogenous Aβ42 oligomers interacting with the CaSRs of swelling numbers of astrocyte-neuron teams thereby recruiting them to overrelease additional Aβ42 oligomers, VEGF-A, and NO. Calcilytics would beneficially break such Aβ/CaSR-driven vicious cycles and hence halt or at least slow the otherwise unstoppable spreading of AD neuropathology.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid-beta oligomers, astrocyte-neuron teams, calcium-sensing receptor, calcilytics, calcimimetics.

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