Chapter

Cytokines and neurodegeneration

Nancy Rothwell, Sarah Loddick and Catherine Lawrence

in Immune Responses in the Nervous System

Published in print November 1997 | ISBN: 9781872748795
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191724381 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9781872748795.003.0004

Series: Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology Series

Cytokines and neurodegeneration

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Cytokine is the term used to describe a large and expanding group or family of polypeptides which can be synthesized by most cell types, and influence numerous biological processes. Recent research indicates that cytokines have diverse effects on nervous system function and have been implicated in various forms of neurological disease and injury. However, the emerging picture is a complex one, and cytokines have been proposed as both mediators and inhibitors of neuronal survival and death. Some of this complexity arises from the varied experimental approaches employed, the absence of suitable inhibitors or receptor antagonists for many cytokines, and the wide range of doses, concentrations, bioactivity and origin of the cytokines used. In order to establish a biological role for any cytokine in neurodegeneration, it is necessary to demonstrate its synthesis in an appropriate temporal and spatial manner, the effects of the cytokine at relevant concentrations, and that inhibition of its action modifies neurodegeneration. This chapter reviews the methods which have been used and are now becoming available to achieve these aims. It summarizes known mechanisms of neurodegeneration in order to facilitate discussion of possible sites of cytokine action.

Keywords: cytokine synthesis; neurodegeneration; cytokines; polypeptides; neurological disease; neuronal survival; neuronal death

Chapter.  10276 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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