Glycogen synthase kinase 3: a drug target for CNS therapies

J Neurochem. 2004 Jun;89(6):1313-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2004.02422.x.


Abstract Glycogen synthase kinase3 (GSK3) is emerging as a prominent drug target in the CNS. The most exciting of the possibilities of GSK3 lies within the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) where abnormal increases in GSK3 levels and activity have been associated with neuronal death, paired helical filament tau formation and neurite retraction as well as a decline in cognitive performance. Abnormal activity of GSK3 is also implicated in stroke. Lithium, a widely used drug for affective disorders, inhibits GSK3 at therapeutically relevant concentrations. Thus while the rationale remains testable, pharmaceutical companies are investing in finding a selective inhibitor of GSK3. In the present review, we summarize the properties of GSK3, and discuss the potential for such a therapy in AD, and other CNS disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease / enzymology
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / enzymology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / genetics
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lithium / pharmacology
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / enzymology
  • Phosphorylation


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Lithium
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3