Usefulness of identifying G-protein-coupled receptor dimers for diagnosis and therapy of neurodegenerative diseases and of gliomas
Immunochemical detection of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in cells and tissues was a technical challenge for years. After the discovery of formation of GPCR dimers/trimers/tetramers in transfected cells, a most recent challenge has been to confirm receptor-receptor interactions in natural sources. The occurrence of dimers or higher order oligomers is important from a therapeutic point of view, mainly because their physiology/pharmacology is different from those of individual receptors. On the one hand, pathophysiological factors need to count more on GPCR dimers than on individual receptors. On the other hand, the expression of dimers, trimers, etc. may change in pathological conditions and/or along the course of a disease. This review will focus on G-protein-coupled receptor dimers, on how to detect them by novel histological techniques and on how the detection may be used in diagnosis and therapy of ailments of the central nervous system, for instance in neurodegenerative diseases and gliomas.