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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 240146, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/240146
Review Article

Recent Advances in the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases Based on GSH Delivery Systems

Department of Drug Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, G. d'Annunzio University, Via dei Vestini 31, 66100 Chieti, Italy

Received 7 February 2012; Accepted 22 March 2012

Academic Editor: Madia Trujillo

Copyright © 2012 Ivana Cacciatore et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease (PD) and Alzheimer's disease(AD), are a group of pathologies characterized by a progressive and specific loss of certain brain cell populations. Oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and apoptosis play interrelated roles in these disorders. It is well documented that free radical oxidative damage, particularly on neuronal lipids, proteins, DNA, and RNA, is extensive in PD and AD brains. Moreover, alterations of glutathione (GSH) metabolism in brain have been implicated in oxidative stress and neurodegenerative diseases. As a consequence, the reduced GSH levels observed in these pathologies have stimulated a number of researchers to find new potential approaches for maintaining or restoring GSH levels. Unfortunately, GSH delivery to the central nervous system (CNS) is limited due to a poor stability and low bioavailability. Medicinal-chemistry- and technology-based approaches are commonly used to improve physicochemical, biopharmaceutical, and drug delivery properties of therapeutic agents. This paper will focus primarily on these approaches used in order to replenish intracellular GSH levels, which are reduced in neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we discuss the beneficial properties of these approaches and their potential implications for the future treatment of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, and more specifically from PD and AD.