Neurodegeneration and Neuroinflammation in Parkinson's Disease: a Self-Sustained Loop

G Arena*, K Sharma, G Agyeah, R Krüger, A Grünewald, J C Fitzgerald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Neuroinflammation plays a significant role in Parkinson's disease (PD) etiology along with mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired proteostasis. In this context, mechanisms related to immune response can act as modifiers at different steps of the neurodegenerative process and justify the growing interest in anti-inflammatory agents as potential disease-modifying treatments in PD. The discovery of inherited gene mutations in PD has allowed researchers to develop cellular and animal models to study the mechanisms of the underlying biology, but the original cause of neuroinflammation in PD is still debated to date.

RECENT FINDINGS: Cell autonomous alterations in neuronal cells, including mitochondrial damage and protein aggregation, could play a role, but recent findings also highlighted the importance of intercellular communication at both local and systemic level. This has given rise to debate about the role of non-neuronal cells in PD and reignited intense research into the gut-brain axis and other non-neuronal interactions in the development of the disease. Whatever the original trigger of neuroinflammation in PD, what appears quite clear is that the aberrant activation of glial cells and other components of the immune system creates a vicious circle in which neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation nourish each other. In this review, we will provide an up-to-date summary of the main cellular alterations underlying neuroinflammation in PD, including those induced by environmental factors (e.g. the gut microbiome) and those related to the genetic background of affected patients. Starting from the lesson provided by familial forms of PD, we will discuss pathophysiological mechanisms linked to inflammation that could also play a role in idiopathic forms. Finally, we will comment on the potential clinical translatability of immunobiomarkers identified in PD patient cohorts and provide an update on current therapeutic strategies aimed at overcoming or preventing inflammation in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-440
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Neurology and Neuroscience Reports
Issue number8
Early online date8 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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