Metal ions, particularly copper, zinc and iron, are implicated in several amyloidogenic neurodegenerative disorders. In the brain, as elsewhere in the body, metal ion excess or deficiency can potentially inhibit protein function, interfere with correct protein folding or, in the case of iron or copper, promote oxidative stress. The involvement of metal ions in neurodegenerative disorders has made them an emerging target for therapeutic interventions. One approach has been to chelate and sequester the ions and thus limit their potential to interfere with protein folding or render them unable to undergo redox processes. Newer approaches suggest that redistributing metal ions has therapeutic benefits, and recent studies indicate that alleviating cellular copper deficiency may be a plausible way to limit neurodegeneration. In this review we discuss the role of metals in amyloidogenic, neurodegenerative disorders and highlight some mechanisms and compounds used in various therapeutic approaches.
Keywords: Alzheimer's, chelator, copper, iron, neurodegeneration, Parkinson's, prion, redox, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, oxidative stress, neurodegenerative disorders, synucleinopathies, synuclein, zinc
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