Given the critical role of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways in regulating cellular processes that are affected in Alzheimer's disease (AD), the importance of MAPKs in disease pathogenesis is being increasingly recognized. All MAPK pathways, i.e., the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 pathways, are activated in vulnerable neurons in patients with AD suggesting that MAPK pathways are involved in the pathophysiology and pathogenesis of AD. Here we review recent findings implicating the MAPK pathways in AD and discuss the relationship between these pathways and the prominent pathological processes, i.e., tau phosphorylation and amyloid-beta deposition, as well as the functional association to amyloid beta protein precursor. We suggest that regulation of these pathways may be a central facet to any potential treatment for the disease.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel