The role of zinc in Alzheimer's disease

Nigel M. Hooper, Nicole T. Watt, Isobel J. Whitehouse

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Zinc, the most abundant trace metal in the brain, has numerous functions, both in health and in disease. Zinc is released into the synaptic cleft of glutamatergic neurons alongside glutamate from where it interacts and modulates NMDA and AMPA receptors. In addition, zinc has multifactorial functions in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Zinc is critical in the enzymatic nonamyloidogenic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and in the enzymatic degradation of the amyloid-β(Aβ) peptide. Zinc binds to Aβ promoting its aggregation into neurotoxic species, and disruption of zinc homeostasis in the brain results in synaptic and memory deficits. Thus, zinc dyshomeostasis may have a critical role to play in the pathogenesis of AD, and the chelation of zinc is a potential therapeutic approach. Copyright © 2011 Nicole T. Watt et al.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number971021
    JournalInternational Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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