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Microglia as a Pharmacological Target in Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases of the Brain

Author:
Rock, R. Bryan   Peterson, Phillip K.  


Journal:
Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology


Issue Date:
2006


Abstract(summary):

Following an eclipse of scientific inquiry regarding the biology of microglia that lasted 50 years, recognition toward the end of the 20th century of their neuropathogenic role in HIV-associated dementia and in neuroinflammatory/neurodegenerative diseases fueled a renaissance of interest in these resident macrophages of the brain parenchyma. Results of a large number of in vitro studies, using isolated microglial cells or glial/neuronal cell cultures, and parallel findings emerging from animal models and clinical studies have demonstrated that activated microglia produce a myriad of inflammatory mediators that both serve important defense functions against invading neurotropic pathogens and have been implicated in brain damage in infectious as well as neuroinflammatory/ neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This review provides a brief background regarding the physiological and patho-physiological roles of microglia and highlights current pharmacological approaches that target activated microglia with the goal of ameliorating infectious and neuroinflammatory/neurodegenerative diseases of the brain. Although this aspect of the field of neuro-immunopharmacology is in its infancy, it holds great promise for developing new treatments and prevention of diseases that are, in many cases, epidemic throughout the world.


Page:
117-126


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