chapter  3
22 Pages

Acetylcholine, GABA and excitatory amino acid receptors in neurodegenerative disorders


Neurodegenerative disorders are characterized by progressive loss of certain types of neurones in the central nervous system (CNS). In Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s chorea dopamine and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurones, respectively, are selectively degenerating, whereas there is a loss of glutamic acid (Glu) and, in particular, acetylcholine neurones in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Although the primary causes of these diseases are unknown, a variety of factors such as excitotoxicity, free radical processes and autoimmunity may play crucial roles in the processes causing irreversible neuronal damage. In recent years, excitotoxicity, caused by overexcitation of different populations of neurones by Glu neurones, has been the subject of intensive studies.