The PKR/P38/RIPK1 Signaling Pathway as a Therapeutic Target in Alzheimer's Disease.

Research paper by Jacques J Hugon, Claire C Paquet

Indexed on: 08 Apr '21Published on: 04 Apr '21Published in: International journal of molecular sciences


Neuropathological lesions in Alzheimer's disease (AD) include amyloid plaques formed by the accumulation of amyloid peptides, neurofibrillary tangles made of hyperphosphorylated tau protein, synaptic and neuronal degenerations, and neuroinflammation. The cause of AD is unknown, but according to the amyloid hypothesis, amyloid oligomers could lead to the activation of kinases such as eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2-alpha kinase 2 (PKR), p38, and receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (RIPK1), which all belong to the same stress-activated pathway. Many toxic kinase activations have been described in AD patients and in experimental models. A p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor was recently tested in clinical trials but with unsuccessful results. The complex PKR/P38/RIPK1 (PKR/dual specificity mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 6 (MKK6)/P38/MAP kinase-activated protein kinase 2 (MK2)/RIPK1) is highly activated in AD brains and in the brains of AD transgenic animals. To delineate the implication of this pathway in AD, we carried out a search on PubMed including PKR/MKK6/p38/MK2/RIPK1, Alzheimer, and therapeutics. The involvement of this signaling pathway in the genesis of AD lesions, including Aβ accumulations and tau phosphorylation as well as cognitive decline, is demonstrated by the reports described in this review. A future combination strategy with kinase inhibitors should be envisaged to modulate the consequences for neurons and other brain cells linked to the abnormal activation of this pathway.