Affiliation: Department of Oncology and Neuroscience, University of Chieti, Italy.
Parkinsons disease (PD) is a frequent neurological disorder of the basal ganglia, which is characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons mainly in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). Recently, increasing evidence from human and animal studies has suggested that neuroinflammation is a cause or rather a consequence of neurodegeneration. Activated microglia, as well as to a lesser extent reactive astrocytes, are found in the area associated with cell loss, possibly contributing to the inflammatory process by the release of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins or cytokines. Further deleterious factors released by activated microglia or astrocytes are reactive oxygen species. Although dopamine replacement can alleviate symptoms of the disorder, there is no proven therapy to halt the underlying progressive degeneration of dopamine-containing neurons. Furthermore, growing experimental evidence demonstrates that inhibition of the inflammatory response can, in part, prevent degeneration of nigrostriatal dopamine-containing neurons in several animal models of PD, It has been revealed that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have neuroprotective properties based not only on their cyclooxygenase-inhibitory action, but also on other properties including their inhibitory effects on the synthesis of nitric oxide radicals. NSAIDs inhibit prostaglandin H synthase, thus suppressing dopamine oxidation and subsequent dopamine quinone formation. This study suggests that inhibition of inflammation may become a promising therapeutic intervention for PD.