Cytoskeletal mechanisms of neuronal degeneration
The cytoskeleton is the major intracellular determinant of neuronal morphology and is required for fundamental processes during the development and maintenance of a neuron. Thus, it is not surprising that many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (motor neuron disease) are characterized by typical abnormalities in the organization of the cytoskeleton. However, the role of the cytoskeletal changes during the development of the disease, e.g., whether they have a causative role during neuronal degeneration or represent an epiphenomenon of neurons that degenerate by other means, is still disputed. In this review, recent results on the development and the role of cytoskeletal abnormalities during neurodegenerative diseases are discussed and a mechanistic framework for the involvement of cytoskeletal changes during neurodegenerative processes is presented.
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