Aging and Parkinson's Disease: Inflammaging, neuroinflammation and biological remodeling as key factors in pathogenesis

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Abstract

In order to better understand the pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease (PD) it is important to consider possible contributory factors inherent to the aging process, as age-related changes in a number of physiological systems (perhaps incurred within particular environments) appear to influence the onset and progression of neurodegenerative disorders. Accordingly, we posit that a principal mechanism underlying PD is inflammaging, i.e. the chronic inflammatory process characterized by an imbalance of pro- and anti-inflammatory mechanisms which has been recognized as operative in several age-related, and notably neurodegenerative diseases. Recent conceptualization suggests that inflammaging is part of the complex adaptive mechanisms (“re-modeling”) that are ongoing through the lifespan, and which function to prevent or mitigate endogenous processes of tissue disruption and degenerative change(s). The absence of an adequate anti-inflammatory response can fuel inflammaging, which propagates on both local (i.e.- from cell to cell) and systemic levels (e.g.- via exosomes and other molecules present in the blood). In general, this scenario is compatible with the hypothesis that inflammaging represents a hormetic or hormetic-like effect, in which low levels of inflammatory stress may prompt induction of anti-inflammatory mediators and mechanisms, while sustained pro-inflammatory stress incurs higher and more durable levels of inflammatory substances, which, in turn prompt a local-to-systemic effect and more diverse inflammatory response(s). Given this perspective, new treatments of PD may be envisioned that strategically are aimed at exerting hormetic effects to sustain anti-inflammatory responses, inclusive perhaps, of modulating the inflammatory influence of the gut microbiota.

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