Axonal transport and Alzheimer's disease

Annu Rev Biochem. 2006:75:607-27. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.75.103004.142637.


In contrast to most eukaryotic cells, neurons possess long, highly branched processes called axons and dendrites. In large mammals, such as humans, some axons reach lengths of over 1 m. These lengths pose a major challenge to the movement of proteins, vesicles, and organelles between presynaptic sites and cell bodies. To overcome this challenge axons and dendrites rely upon specialized transport machinery consisting of cytoskeletal motor proteins generating directed movements along cytoskeletal tracks. Not only are these transport systems crucial to maintain neuronal viability and differentiation, but considerable experimental evidence suggests that failure of axonal transport may play a role in the development or progression of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Alzheimer Disease* / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease* / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease* / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport / physiology*
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Axons / pathology
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Dyneins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism


  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • Dyneins