Inflammation has recently been shown to pay an essential role in pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. A typical reaction observed during neurodegenerative processes in the central nervous system is microglial activation, astroglkosis and increased expression of various inflammatory molecules. Presence of activated microglia and activated T lymphocytes as well as elevated expression of complement proteins and variety of cytokines have been reported in Alzheimer's disease. Parkinson's disease appears to be characterised by peripheral immunological system disturbances and presence of inflammatory cells in the substantia nigra and striatum. However, it has not been explained so far, what role exactly inflammatory reaction plays in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.
In recent years a protective role of inflammation that accompany neurodegeneration had been studied. It has been suggested, that a clue role in these processes play myelin-specific autoreactive T lymphocytes and macrophages, gathering in area of injury. Due to its functions and properties (cytokines and trophic factors secretion, ability to necrotic tissue removal) these cells can limit degenerative processes and stimulate regeneration.
Precise evaluation of inflammation processes during neurodegeneration might help in future improving therapeutic strategies, used in prophylaxis and CNS degenerative diseases treatment.