Edited by Julie YH Chan and Kuei-Sen Hsu
A thematic series in Journal of Biomedical Science.
Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people each year and the incidence is increasing with the aging of our populations. Accordingly, one of the greatest challenges facing neuroscience is the understanding of what causes neurodegenerative diseases and the development of new approaches for treatment and prevention. Most of the common neurodegenerative diseases are sporadic, but about 10-15% has a direct genetic cause. Knowledge gained from genetic studies has allowed the elucidation of the molecular pathogenesis for neurodegenerative diseases. Recent advancements in the next-generation sequencing technique and its computational analysis have facilitated extensive insights into the molecular pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases. The areas reviewed in the present thematic series are among those where we have seen some of the most remarkable progress in recent years. Pao and Tsai describe the role aberrant Cdk5 activity in many neurodegenerative diseases. Kuo and colleagues discuss the role of non-coding RNAs in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Chen and colleagues discuss a novel STUB1 frameshift mutation in the development of autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxia type 48 (SCA48). Chang and colleagues propose a new therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative diseases by keeping an adenosine homeostasis. Tung and colleagues discuss the crucial role of microRNAs in the pathogenesis and treatment of Huntington's disease. Finally, Lee and colleagues review data from animal and human studies showing the beneficial effects of deep brain stimulation in treating motor and non-motor symptoms in PD.
We hope that this thematic series is a testament to the enormous progress that has been made in understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases and guides development of effective prevention and drug treatment strategies.