Estrogens are the best-studied class of drugs for potential use in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD). These steroids have been shown to be potent neuroprotectants both in vitro and in vivo, and to exert effects that are consistent with their potential use in prevention of AD. These include the prevention of the processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) into beta-amyloid (Aβ), the reduction in tau hyperphosphorylation, and the elimination of catastrophic attempts at neuronal mitosis. Further, epidemiological data support the efficacy of early postmenopausal use of estrogens for the delay or prevention of AD. Collectively, this evidence supports the further development of estrogen-like compounds for prevention of AD. Several approaches to enhance brain specificity of estrogen action are now underway in an attempt to reduce the side effects of chronic estrogen therapy in AD.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Memory and cognition