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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 820903, 11 pages
Review Article

Therapeutic Approaches to Delay the Onset of Alzheimer's Disease

Department of Basic Sciences, Neuroscience, The Commonwealth Medical College, Tobin Hall, 501 Madison Avenue, Scranton, PA 18510, USA

Received 26 October 2010; Accepted 10 January 2011

Academic Editor: Christiaan Leeuwenburgh

Copyright © 2011 Raj Kumar and Hani Atamna. 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.


The key cytopathologies in the brains of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients include mitochondrial dysfunction and energy hypometabolism, which are likely caused by the accumulation of small aggregates of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides. Thus, targeting these two abnormalities of the AD brain may hold promising therapeutic value for delaying the onset of AD. In his paper, we discuss two potential approaches to delay the onset of AD. The first is the use of low dose of diaminophenothiazins (redox active agents) to prevent mitochondrial dysfunction and to attenuate energy hypometabolism. Diaminophenothiazines enhance mitochondrial metabolic activity and heme synthesis, both key factors in intermediary metabolism of the AD brain.The second is to use the naturally occurring osmolytes to prevent the formation of toxic forms of Aβ and prevent oxidative stress. Scientific evidence suggests that both approaches may change course of the basic mechanism of neurodegeneration in AD. Osmolytes are brain metabolites which accumulate in tissues at relatively high concentrations following stress conditions. Osmolytes enhance thermodynamic stability of proteins by stabilizing natively-folded protein conformation, thus preventing aggregation without perturbing other cellular processes. Osmolytes may inhibit the formation of Aβ oligomers in vivo, thus preventing the formation of soluble oligomers. The potential significance of combining diaminophenothiazins and osmolytes to treat AD is discussed.