Intrinsic mechanisms of poly(ADP-ribose) neurotoxicity: three hypotheses

Neurotoxicology. 2005 Oct;26(5):847-55. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2005.01.012. Epub 2005 May 31.


Poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) is a branched and negatively charged polymeric macromolecule formed by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases. Targeting of PAR onto acceptor proteins affects their functioning and regulates cellular homeostasis. A large body of evidence demonstrates that increased neo-formation of PAR has a crucial role in neurodegeneration. Consistently, strategies aimed at reducing PAR synthesis are of therapeutic relevance to treatment of several experimental neurodegenerative diseases. However, how PAR causes neuronal death is still elusive. This review provides an appraisal of the possible molecular mechanisms underlying PAR neurotoxicity, highlighting the pleiotypic effects of the polymer on neural cells exposed to different stressful conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Poly Adenosine Diphosphate Ribose / metabolism
  • Poly Adenosine Diphosphate Ribose / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects


  • Poly Adenosine Diphosphate Ribose