Locus Coeruleus Modulates Neuroinflammation in Parkinsonism and Dementia

Filippo Sean Giorgi, Francesca Biagioni, Alessandro Galgani, Nicola Pavese, Gloria Lazzeri, Francesco Fornai

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Locus Coeruleus (LC) is the main noradrenergic nucleus of the central nervous system, and its neurons widely innervate the whole brain. LC is severely degenerated both in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in Parkinson's disease (PD), years before the onset of clinical symptoms, through mechanisms that differ among the two disorders. Several experimental studies have shown that noradrenaline modulates neuroinflammation, mainly by acting on microglia/astrocytes function. In the present review, after a brief introduction on the anatomy and physiology of LC, we provide an overview of experimental data supporting a pathogenetic role of LC degeneration in AD and PD. Then, we describe in detail experimental data, obtained in vitro and in vivo in animal models, which support a potential role of neuroinflammation in such a link, and the specific molecules (i.e., released cytokines, glial receptors, including pattern recognition receptors and others) whose expression is altered by LC degeneration and might play a key role in AD/PD pathogenesis. New imaging and biochemical tools have recently been developed in humans to estimate in vivo the integrity of LC, the degree of neuroinflammation, and pathology AD/PD biomarkers; it is auspicable that these will allow in the near future to test the existence of a link between LC-neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration directly in patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 16 2020


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