Biochemistry (Moscow)

, Volume 79, Issue 5, pp 391–396 | Cite as

Role of zinc and copper ions in the pathogenetic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases

  • E. V. StelmashookEmail author
  • N. K. Isaev
  • E. E. Genrikhs
  • G. A. Amelkina
  • L. G. Khaspekov
  • V. G. Skrebitsky
  • S. N. Illarioshkin


Disbalance of zinc (Zn2+) and copper (Cu2+) ions in the central nervous system is involved in the pathogenesis of numerous neurodegenerative disorders such as multisystem atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Wilson-Konovalov disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Among these, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) are the most frequent age-related neurodegenerative pathologies with disorders in Zn2+ and Cu2+ homeostasis playing a pivotal role in the mechanisms of pathogenesis. In this review we generalized and systematized current literature data concerning this problem. The interactions of Zn2+ and Cu2+ with amyloid precursor protein (APP), β-amyloid (Abeta), tau-protein, metallothioneins, and GSK3β are considered, as well as the role of these interactions in the generation of free radicals in AD and PD. Analysis of the literature suggests that the main factors of AD and PD pathogenesis (oxidative stress, structural disorders and aggregation of proteins, mitochondrial dysfunction, energy deficiency) that initiate a cascade of events resulting finally in the dysfunction of neuronal networks are mediated by the disbalance of Zn2+ and Cu2+.

Key words

zinc ions copper ions Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s disease mitochondria-targeted antioxidants 





Alzheimer’s disease


amyloid precursor protein




γ-aminobutyric acid


glycogen synthase kinase 3β










Parkinson’s disease


reactive oxygen species


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. V. Stelmashook
    • 1
    Email author
  • N. K. Isaev
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. E. Genrikhs
    • 1
  • G. A. Amelkina
    • 2
  • L. G. Khaspekov
    • 1
  • V. G. Skrebitsky
    • 1
  • S. N. Illarioshkin
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Center of NeurologyRussian Academy of Medical SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical BiologyLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia

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