Potential therapeutic roles of retinoids for prevention of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease.
All retinoids, which can be natural and synthetic, are chemically related to vitamin A. Both natural and synthetic retinoids use specific nuclear receptors such as retinoic acid receptors and retinoid X receptors to activate specific signaling pathways in the cells. Retinoic acid signaling is extremely important in the central nervous system. Impairment of retinoic acid signaling pathways causes severe pathological processes in the central nervous system, especially in the adult brain.
Retinoids have major roles in neural patterning, differentiation, axon outgrowth in normal development, and function of the brain. Impaired retinoic acid signaling results in neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial malfunction, and neurodegeneration leading to progressive Alzheimer's disease, which is pathologically characterized by extra-neuronal accumulation of amyloid plaques (aggregated amyloid-beta) and intra-neurofibrillary tangles (hyperphosphorylated tau protein) in the temporal lobe of the brain. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and loss of memory in old adults. Inactive cholinergic neurotransmission is responsible for cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease patients. Deficiency or deprivation of retinoic acid in mice is associated with loss of spatial learning and memory. Retinoids inhibit expression of chemokines and neuroinflammatory cytokines in microglia and astrocytes, which are activated in Alzheimer's disease. Stimulation of retinoic acid receptors and retinoid X receptors slows down accumulation of amyloids, reduces neurodegeneration, and thereby prevents pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease in mice. In this review, we described chemistry and biochemistry of some natural and synthetic retinoids and potentials of retinoids for prevention of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease.