Targeting Inflammation in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Neurodegeneration has an inflammatory component, and some research groups use that as a starting point for treatment: "Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are partly attributable to brain inflammation. Researchers [now] demonstrate [that] a well-known family of enzymes can prevent the inflammation and thus constitute a potential target for drugs. Research suggests that microglial cells - the nerve system's primary immune cells - play a critical part in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The over-activation of these cells in the brain can cause inflammation, resulting in neuronal death. Scientists [have] now found a way to prevent the activation of the microglia and consequently the inflammation they cause. The key is the blocking of enzymes called caspases, which the team has shown control microglial activation. ... By studying cell cultures and mice, the researchers show that certain caspases (3, 7 and 8) activate rather than kill microglial cells, which triggers an inflammatory reaction. Mice given caspase inhibitors displayed fewer activated microglia and less inflammation and cell death in the surrounding neurons."

Link: http://ki.se/ki/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=130&a=118749&l=en&newsdep=130

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