Noradrenaline in Alzheimer’s Disease: A New Potential Therapeutic Target

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A growing body of evidence demonstrates the important role of the noradrenergic system in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative processes, especially Alzheimer’s disease, due to its ability to control glial activation and chemokine production resulting in anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Noradrenaline involvement in this disease was first proposed after finding deficits of noradrenergic neurons in the locus coeruleus from Alzheimer’s disease patients. Based on this, it has been hypothesized that the early loss of noradrenergic projections and the subsequent reduction of noradrenaline brain levels contribute to cognitive dysfunctions and the progression of neurodegeneration. Several studies have focused on analyzing the role of noradrenaline in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In this review we summarize some of the most relevant data describing the alterations of the noradrenergic system normally occurring in Alzheimer’s disease as well as experimental studies in which noradrenaline concentration was modified in order to further analyze how these alterations affect the behavior and viability of different nervous cells. The combination of the different studies here presented suggests that the maintenance of adequate noradrenaline levels in the central nervous system constitutes a key factor of the endogenous defense systems that help prevent or delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease. For this reason, the use of noradrenaline modulating drugs is proposed as an interesting alternative therapeutic option for Alzheimer’s disease.
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