Neurotoxicity of Zinc
Zinc-induced neurotoxicity has been shown to play a role in neuronal damage and death associated with traumatic brain injury, stroke, seizures, and neurodegenerative diseases. During normal firing of “zinc-ergic” neurons, vesicular free zinc is released into the synaptic cleft where it modulates a number of postsynaptic neuronal receptors. However, excess zinc, released after injury or disease, leads to excitotoxic neuronal death. The mechanisms of zinc-mediated neurotoxicity appear to include not only neuronal signaling but also regulation of mitochondrial function and energy production, as well as other mechanisms such as aggregation of amyloid beta peptides in Alzheimer’s disease. However, recent data have raised questions about some of our long-standing assumptions about the mechanisms of zinc in neurotoxicity. Thus, this review explores the most recent published findings and highlights the current mechanistic controversies.
KeywordsZinc Abeta Excitotoxicity Neurotoxicity
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