How inflammation pathways contribute to cell death in neuro-muscular disorders

Sara Salucci, Anna Stella Bartoletti, Michela Battistelli, Sabrina Burattini, Alberto Bavelloni, Lucio Ildebrando Cocco, Pietro Gobbi, Irene Faenza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Neuro-muscular disorders include a variety of diseases induced by genetic mutations resulting in muscle weakness and waste, swallowing and breathing difficulties. However, muscle alterations and nerve depletions involve specific molecular and cellular mechanisms which lead to the loss of motor-nerve or skeletal-muscle function, often due to an excessive cell death. Morphological and molecular studies demonstrated that a high number of these disorders seem characterized by an upregulated apoptosis which significantly contributes to the pathology. Cell death involvement is the consequence of some cellular processes that occur during diseases, including mitochondrial dysfunction, protein aggregation, free radical generation, excitotoxicity and inflammation. The latter represents an important mediator of disease progression, which, in the central nervous system, is known as neuroinflammation, characterized by reactive microglia and astroglia, as well the infiltration of peripheral monocytes and lymphocytes. Some of the mechanisms underlying inflammation have been linked to reactive oxygen species accumulation, which trigger mitochondrial genomic and respiratory chain instability, autophagy impairment and finally neuron or muscle cell death. This review discusses the main inflammatory pathways contributing to cell death in neuro-muscular disorders by highlighting the main mechanisms, the knowledge of which appears essential in developing therapeutic strategies to prevent the consequent neuron loss and muscle wasting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Cell death
  • Innate immune system
  • Motor neuron disorders
  • Neuro-muscular diseases
  • Neuroinflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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