ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

Neuroinflammation in Parkinson"s Disease and its Treatment Opportunities
Elif Çınar1, Banu Cahide Tel2, Gürdal Şahin3,4
1Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine Zonguldak Bulent Ecevit University, Zonguldak, Turkey
2Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
3Lund University, Department of Clinical Sciences of Malmö and Lund, Lund, Sweden
4Skåneuro Neurology Clinic, Lund, Sweden
DOI : 10.4274/balkanmedj.galenos.2022.2022-7-100
Pages : 318-333


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex, chronic, and progressive neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by irreversible dopaminergic neuronal loss in the substantia nigra. Alpha-synuclein is normally a synaptic protein that plays a key role in PD due to pathological accumulation as oligomers or fibrils. Clustered alpha-synuclein binds to the Toll-like receptors and activates the microglia, which initiates a process that continues with pro-inflammatory cytokine production and secretion. Pro-inflammatory cytokine overproduction and secretion induce cell death and accelerate PD progression. Microglia are found in a resting state in physiological conditions. Microglia became activated by stimulating Toll-like receptors on it under pathological conditions, such as alpha-synuclein aggregation, environmental toxins, or oxidative stress. The interaction between Toll-like receptors and its downstream pathway triggers an activation series, leads to nuclear factor-kappa B activation, initiates the inflammasome formation, and increases cytokine levels. This consecutive inflammatory process leads to dopaminergic cell damage and cell death. Microglia become overactive in response to chronic inflammation, which is observed in PD and causes excessive cytotoxic factor production, such as reactive oxidase, nitric oxide, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. This inflammatory process contributes to the exacerbation of pathology by triggering neuronal damage or death. Current treatments, such as dopaminergic agonists, anticholinergics, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors alleviate PD symptoms, but they can not stop the disease progression. Finding a radical treatment option or stopping the progression is essential when considering that PD is the second most reported neurodegenerative disorder. Many cytokines are released during inflammation, and they can start the phagocytic process, which caused the degradation of infected cells along with healthy ones. Therefore, targeting the pathological mechanisms, such as microglial activation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress, that should be involved in the treatment program is important. Neuroinflammation is one of the key factors involved in PD pathogenesis as well as alpha-synuclein accumulation, synaptic dysfunction, or dopaminergic neuronal loss, especially in the substantia nigra. Therefore, evaluating the therapeutic efficiency of the mechanisms is important, such as microglial activation and nuclear factor-kappa B pathway or inflammasome formation inhibition, and cytokine release interruption against neuroinflammation may create new treatment possibilities for PD. This study examined the pathological relation between PD and neuroinflammation, and targeting neuroinflammation as an opportunity for PD treatments, such as Toll-like receptor antagonists, NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain containing-3 inflammasome inhibitors, cytokine inhibitors, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ agonists, reactive oxygen species inhibitors, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

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