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Autophagy and Mitochondria: Targets in Neurodegenerative Disorders

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Background & Objective: Cellular physiology and energy metabolism are maintained by the constant supply of energy furnished by the powerhouses of the cell called mitochondria. Cellular homeostasis depends on the timely clearance of damaged cellular organelles and proteins via pathways including autophagy. Mitochondria and mitochondrial autophagy play a vital role in cellular health and failure of these pathways can have a devastating effect on cellular homeostasis. Amongst the various cell types, neuronal cells are more vulnerable to bioenergetic depletion since most of their functions critically depend on the availability of energy derived from mitochondrial metabolism, thus making neurodegenerative disorders an obstinate issue. Research in the past few decades has shown that these neurodegenerative disorders are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and compromised mitophagy leading to accumulation of protein aggregates which ultimately culminate in neurodegeneration.

Conclusion: Thus, targeting mitochondria and autophagy-related proteins and enzymes in neurodegenerative disorders may open the avenues for potential targets for discovering effective therapies. Here, we review the involvement of mitochondrial and autophagy dysfunction in neurodegenerative disorders specifically focusing on Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington’s disease.
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Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Autophagy; Huntington's disease; Parkinson's disease; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitophagy

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

This article was made available online on August 28, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Autophagy and Mitochondria: Targets in Neurodegenerative Disorders".

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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