Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), the second most frequent cause of dementia after Alzheimer disease (AD), is characterized by the widespread distribution of Lewy bodies in virtually every brain area. Clinically, DLB is distinguished from AD by fluctuating cognition, prominent visual hallucinations and parkinsonism, and from Parkinson disease, by the appearance of parkinsonism within one year of cognitive or behavioral decline. The main component of Lewy bodies is alpha-synuclein. Accumulating evidence suggests that its aggregation constitutes one of the first steps preceeding Lewy body formation, so that antiaggregation strategies would be very useful to prevent alpha-synuclein fibril formation. Main therapies nevertheless applied up to the present remain symptomatological. In this context, cholinesterase inhibitors such as rivastigmine, galantamine and donepezil, are used for the treatment of delusions and other psychotic symptoms. This review focuses on the recent discovery of possible alpha-synuclein anti-aggregation factors, where four main classes can be defined. First, beta-synuclein as well as alpha-synuclein derived peptides in addition to antibodies present a group of proteins and peptides that directly interact with alpha-synuclein and so inhibit its aggregation. Second, small molecules interfere with alpha-synuclein aggregation by their covalent binding, although not all of them are suitable for an appropriate inhibition of alpha-synuclein aggregation. Third, to inhibit the expression of alpha-synuclein and its isoforms at the RNA level, the use of interference RNA represents a future challenge. The fourth strategy is based on the enhancement of inclusion body formation to accelerate the elimination of soluble alpha-synuclein oligomers. Each chapter section includes the discussion of possible strategies for the development of drugs and therapies.
Department of Pathology, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol, 08916 Badalona, Barcelona, Spain.
Publication date: November 1, 2008
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