The following review examines the role of calcium in promoting the in vitro and in vivo activation of transglutaminases in neurodegenerative disorders. Diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease exhibit increased transglutaminase activity and rises in intracellular calcium concentrations, which may be related. The aberrant activation of transglutaminase by calcium is thought to give rise to a variety of pathological moieties in these diseases, and the inhibition has been shown to have therapeutic benefit in animal and cellular models of neurodegeneration. Given the potential clinical relevance of transglutaminase inhibitors, we have also reviewed the recent development of such compounds.
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