• aged individuals;
  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • caspase-6;
  • cognitive impairment


A recent paradigm shift appears to be underway on what scientists believe to be the cause of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The amyloid hypothesis has dominated the field of basic research for the last 25 years, and although these massive efforts have culminated in efficient removal of amyloid from the brains of patients, the absence of beneficial effects for the patient have been greatly disappointing. This has created a shift in the focus on amyloid to a much greater focus on Tau protein, in the hope that preventing tangle formation may inhibit or delay the progression of AD. Although there are promising developments in this area of research, diversifying our efforts to identify novel early targets by understanding the upstream molecular mechanisms that lead to, or occur with, neurofibrillary tangle and plaque formation may provide more efficient therapies against AD. Among many areas in development, an emphasis on the role of caspase-6 (Casp6) activity in early neurodegenerative mechanisms brings hope of a novel target against AD. Casp6 activity is intimately associated with the pathologies that define AD, correlates well with lower cognitive performance in aged individuals, and is involved in axonal degeneration in several cellular and in vivo animal models. This is a review of the evidence showing the relevance of Casp6 activation as an early event that could be inhibited to prevent the progression of AD.