Dysregulation of neuronal calcium homeostasis in Alzheimer's disease – A therapeutic opportunity?

Elena Popugaeva, Ekaterina Pchitskaya, Ilya Bezprozvanny

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the disease of lost memories. Synaptic loss is a major reason for memory defects in AD. Signaling pathways involved in memory loss in AD are under intense investigation. The role of deranged neuronal calcium (Ca2+) signaling in synaptic loss in AD is described in this review. Familial AD (FAD) mutations in presenilins are linked directly with synaptic Ca2+ signaling abnormalities, most likely by affecting endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+ leak function of presenilins. Excessive ER Ca2+ release via type 2 ryanodine receptors (RyanR2) is observed in AD spines due to increase in expression and function of RyanR2. Store-operated Ca2+ entry (nSOC) pathway is disrupted in AD spines due to downregulation of STIM2 protein. Because of these Ca2+ signaling abnormalities, a balance in activities of Ca2+-calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) and Ca2+-dependent phosphatase calcineurin (CaN) is shifted at the synapse, tilting a balance between long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) synaptic mechanisms. As a result, synapses are weakened and eliminated in AD brains by LTD mechanism, causing memory loss. Targeting synaptic calcium signaling pathways offers opportunity for development of AD therapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)998-1004
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 19 2017


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Ca signaling
  • Ca-calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII)
  • Calcineurin
  • Mushroom spines
  • Neuronal store-operated Ca channels
  • Ryanodine receptors
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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