A disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer's disease: Focus on the trans-sulfuration pathway
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High homocysteine levels in Alzheimer's disease (AD) result from low activity of the trans-sulfuration pathway. Glutathione levels are also low in AD. L-cysteine is required for the synthesis of glutathione. The synthesis of coenzyme A (CoA) requires L-cysteine, which is synthesized via the trans-sulfuration pathway. CoA is required for the synthesis of acetylcholine and appropriate cholinergic neurotransmission. L-cysteine is required for the synthesis of molybdenum-containing proteins. Sulfite oxidase (SUOX), which is a molybdenum-containing protein, could be dysregulated in AD. SUOX detoxifies the sulfites. Glutaminergic neurotransmission could be dysregulated in AD due to low levels of SUOX and high levels of sulfites. L-cysteine provides sulfur for iron-sulfur clusters. Oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) is heavily dependent on iron-sulfur proteins. The decrease in OXPHOS seen in AD could be due to dysregulations of the trans-sulfuration pathway. There is a decrease in aconitase 1 (ACO1) in AD. ACO1 is an iron-sulfur enzyme in the citric acid cycle that upon loss of an iron-sulfur cluster converts to iron regulatory protein 1 (IRP1). With the dysregulation of iron-sulfur cluster formation ACO1 will convert to IRP1 which will decrease the 2-oxglutarate synthesis dysregulating the citric acid cycle and also dysregulating iron metabolism. Selenomethionine is also metabolized by the trans-sulfuration pathway. With the low activity of the trans-sulfuration pathway in AD selenoproteins will be dysregulated in AD. Dysregulation of selenoproteins could lead to oxidant stress in AD. In this article, we propose a novel treatment for AD that addresses dysregulations resulting from low activity of the trans-sulfuration pathway and low L-cysteine.
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