The amyloid cascade hypothesis poses one possible explanation for the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). With this respect, neurotoxic effect is attributed to soluble and diffusive amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers. Aβ peptides are produced by proteolytic cleavage of the hydrophobic transmembrane portion of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by successive action of β- and γ-secretases. Aβ peptides are generated in several isoforms, out of which the most pronounced are Aβ40 and Aβ42 being the major constituents of amyloid plaques found in AD patients’ brains. Since the indisputable evidence pointed out to Aβ oligomers as toxic agents, several pathways to modulate or control the aggregation have been inspected. Given all these aspects, inhibitors of the β- and γ-secretases have gained the most attention. This chapter presents amyloid cascade hypothesis with current progress in the development of β- and γ-secretase modulators to counteract the Aβ burden.
Part of the book: Alzheimer's Disease