Neuroinflammatory processes play a significant role in health and disease of the nervous system. These regulate development, maintenance and sustenance of brain cells and their connections. Linked to aging, epidemiologic, animal, human, and therapeutic studies all support the presence of a neuroinflammatory cascade in disease. This is highlighted by the neurotoxic potential of microglia. In steady state, microglia serve to protect the nervous system by acting as debris scavengers, killers of microbial pathogens, and regulators of innate and adaptive immune responses. In neurodegenerative diseases, activated microglia affect neuronal injury and death through production of glutamate, pro-inflammatory factors, reactive oxygen species, quinolinic acid amongst others and by mobilization of adaptive immune responses and cell chemotaxis leading to transendothelial migration of immunocytes across the blood-brain barrier and perpetuation of neural damage. As disease progresses, inflammatory secretions engage neighboring glial cells, including astrocytes and endothelial cells, resulting in a vicious cycle of autocrine and paracrine amplification of inflammation perpetuating tissue injury. Such pathogenic processes contribute to neurodegeneration. Research from others and our own laboratories seek to harness such inflammatory processes with the singular goal of developing therapeutic interventions that positively affect the tempo and progression of human disease.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Neurodegenerative disorders
- Neuroinflammatory processes
- Parkinson’s disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)