Activation of oncogenic pathways in degenerating neurons in Alzheimer disease

Xiongwei Zhu, Arun K. Raina, Heather Boux, Zachary L. Simmons, Atsushi Takeda, Mark A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


A number of recent findings have highlighted the similarities between neurogenesis during development and neurodegeneration during Alzheimer disease. In fact, neuronal populations that are known to degenerate in Alzheimer disease exhibit phenotypic changes characteristic of cells re-entering the cell division cycle. In this study, we extended these findings by investigating components of the cell cycle, known to trigger progression through G1 through activation of signal transduction cascades. Specifically, we found that proteins implicated in G1 transition, namely Cdc42/Rac, are upregulated in select neuronal populations in cases of Alzheimer disease in comparison to age-matched controls. Importantly, Cdc42/Rac shows considerable overlap with early cytoskeletal abnormalities suggesting that these changes are an extremely proximal event in the pathogenesis of the disease. Given the functional role of Cdc42/Rac in various cellular processes known to be perturbed in Alzheimer disease, namely cytoskeletal organization, oxidative balance, and oncogenic signaling, it is likely that increased neuronal Cdc42/Rac is highly significant in relation to the pathogenic process and contributes to neuronal degeneration. In fact, these findings suggest that Alzheimer disease is an oncogenic process. Copyright (C) 2000 ISDN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-437
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Jul 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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