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Neuroprotection in Autism, Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s Disease

By: , Posted on: December 10, 2019

With the lack of definitive therapies for many neurodegenerative disorders the concept of neuroprotection is becoming more pivotal in the current thought and research. The recently published book Neuroprotection in Autism, Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s Disease is dedicated to the understanding of neuroprotection in three key brain neurodegenerative or neurodevelopmental disorders: autism spectrum disorders (ASD), schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as well as in some other neurodegenerative disorders.

Neuroprotection is the consequence of chemical, genetic or biological/ physiological/ behavioral intervention leading to a protective effect on the nervous system against neurodegeneration or brain malfunctioning. Such intervention may be applied either prior to the breakout of a neurodegenerative disease or at different phases along the course of such disease or brain malfunctioning.

For a limited time, you can access Chapter 1: Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP)/NAP (CP201): Autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease on ScienceDirect

Neuroprotection may be also linked to neurotrophic processes associated with the growth, survival, and differentiation of developing and mature neurons, impacting slow or aberrant developmental processes. Interestingly, as evident in the various book chapters, interventions may be frequently relevant for several neurodegenerative or neurodevelopmental disorders rather than to a single disease.

The compiled chapters are authored by leading researchers and clinical key opinion leaders representing a variety of basic neuroscience disciplines or from medical and clinical disciplines such as clinical biochemistry and pharmacology, medical genetics, neurology, child development and pediatrics, geriatrics and psychiatry.

The book contains four sections: a] an overview; b] autism spectrum disorder; c] neuropsychiatric disorders in general; and d] Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

The first section of the overview contains two chapters. One depicting a protein discovered in the co-editor, Professor Illana Gozes laboratory, namely, activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP). ADNP is essential for brain formation and cognitive function and as such plays a role in autism (the ADNP syndrome), schizophrenia, AD and beyond. This chapter further described the discovery of a neuroprotective eight amino acid snippet of ADNP named NAP (NAPVSIPQ), a drug candidate also named davunetide or CP201, now being developed for the ADNP syndrome. The second chapter discusses the clinical convergence of autism, schizophrenia and AD through the case of social cognition. Existing pharmacological research treatment studies targeting social cognitive impairments in the above disorders are reviewed suggesting that such treatments, based on the re-purposing of existing drugs may transcend diagnostic boundaries.

The second section focusing on the autism spectrum disorder contains three chapters. One discusses a contemporary view on the molecular basis of neurodevelopmental disorders while the second discusses ASD as a clinical path to early diagnosis, evaluation and intervention. The third chapter discusses neuro-inflammation and neuroprotection in schizophrenia and ASD.

The third section of the book dealing with neuropsychiatric disorders in general contains four chapters. The first chapter discusses the neuroprotective roles of neurotrophic factors in depression also discussing some of the ongoing efforts to target these defects with neurotrophic factor signaling for therapeutic treatment. The second chapter discusses neuroprotective roles of neurotrophic growth factors in mood disorders also portraying specific mechanisms by which neurotrophins regulate depressive behavior and antidepressant actions. The third chapter discusses the protein heme and its metabolism, mitochondria, the cell organelle in which the biochemical processes of respiration and energy production occur  and one of the mitochondrial major enzyme complex, complex I, implicated as therapeutic targets that will improve the efficiency of the current treatments. The fourth chapter discusses neuroprotective effects of lithium, an alkali metal chemical element, in neuropsychiatric disorders beyond bipolar disorders such as stroke, Huntington’s-disease encouraging further clinical trials of lithium in some of these brain disorders.

The fourth section focusing on AD and neurodegenerative diseases contains two chapters. The first discusses Tau-based therapies for AD as a promising novel neuroprotective approaches with a special emphasis on the most promising therapeutic agents that have reached clinical trials. The second chapter in this section and last in the book discusses the acetylation of tubulin, a contractile protein that forms microtubules (stabilized by Tau), as a possible feasible protective target from neurodevelopment to neurodegeneration.

Finally, the book Neuroprotection in Autism, Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s Disease provides an up-to-date overview on recent clinical studies and the similarities discovered in some of the most prevalent brain disorders. The book’s content will help shed light on basic mechanisms and provide new avenues for early diagnosis toward disease prevention and disease modification. Hopefully this book will advance the understanding of neuroprotection in ASD, schizophrenia/neuropsychiatric disorders, AD and other neurodegenerative disorders paving the path to better disease management and novel therapeutics.

About the book:

  • Offers an up-to-date overview of basic and clinical studies concerning similarities in the most prevalent brain disorders
  • Helps the reader become familiar with novel neuroprotective mechanisms and experimental treatment modalities in these difficult to treat disorders
  • Written for researchers, clinicians and medical physicians in neuroscience, neurology and psychiatry

The book is available now in ScienceDirect. For a limited time, you can access Chapter 1: Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP)/NAP (CP201): Autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease on ScienceDirect.

Want your own copy? Order the book via the Elsevier store, enter code STC320 when ordering and save up to 30%.


Professor Illana Gozes is supported by the following grants, ISF 1424/14 and 2340/1 ERA-NET neuron AUTISYN and ADNPinMED, BSF-NSF 2016746, AMN Foundation as well as Drs. Ronith and Armand Stemmer, Mr Arthur Gerbi (French Friends of Tel Aviv University), Spanish Friends of Tel Aviv University, Alicia Koplowitz Foundation.

Conflict of interest:

Professor Illana Gozes is the Chief Scientific Officer of Coronis Neurosciences developing CP201 for the ADNP syndrome.

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