Stroke, myocardial infarction, acute and chronic inflammatory diseases: caspases and other apoptotic molecules as targets for drug development
Languages of publication
Mapping of the human and other eukaryotic genomes has provided the pharmacological industry with excellent models for drug discovery. Control of cell proliferation, differentiation, activation and cell removal is crucial for the development and existence of multicellular organisms. Each cell cycle progression, with sequences of DNA replication, mitosis, and cell division, is a tightly controlled and complicated process that, when deregulated, may become dangerous not only to a single cell, but also to the whole organism. Regulation and the proper control of the cell cycle and of programmed cell death (apoptosis) is therefore essential for mammalian development and the homeostasis of the immune system. The molecular networks that regulate these processes are critical targets for drug development, gene therapy, and metabolic engineering. In addition to the primary, intracellular apoptotic suicide machinery, components of the immune system can detect and remove cells and tissue fragments that no longer serve their defined functions. In this review we will focus on apoptotic pathways converging on caspase family proteases, summarizing pharmacological attempts that target genes, proteins, and intermolecular interactions capable of modulating apoptosis and the inflammatory response. The upcoming pharmacological development for treatment of acute pathologies, such as sepsis, SIRS, stroke, traumatic brain injury, myocardial infarction, spinal cord injury, acute liver failure, as well as chronic disorders such as Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, ALS, and rheumatoid arthritis, will be discussed in details. We also suggest new potential molecular targets that may prove to be effective in controlling apoptosis and the immune response in vivo.
Publication order reference
Marek Los, Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, 675 McDermot Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3E 0V9, Canada