Neurodegenerative pathologies present similar destruction mechanisms, but a different localization.
Most of them being without any effective curative treatment, this field represent a major unmet medical need.
Some technical terms for a better understanding…
Autophagy is a natural self-destructive mechanism of the cells in order to clear damaged structures and to keep the balance of energy sources. Lysosomes are the organelles at the center of this process, and that can often be dysfunctional in a pathologic context.
Metabolism covers all chemical reactions that keep the balance between the breakdown of molecules to obtain energy and the synthesis of all compounds needed by the cells. Mitochondria are the organelles at the center of this process, mainly by producing ATP, a vital energy source present in every forms of life.
Inflammation is, physiologically, a protective response involving immune cells, blood vessels and molecular mediators against harmful stimuli. However, in a pathological context, the inflammation becomes uncontrolled and starts damaging the organism itself.
Excitotoxicity is a pathological process by which the nervous system is damaged. In fact, nerve cells are progressively killed by excessive stimulation of excitatory neurotransmitters such as glutamate.
Oxidative stress occurs when the production of reactive oxygen species becomes more intense than the intrinsic anti-oxidant defences. The accumulation of reactive oxygen species leads to the loss of function and even cell death.
Myelin is an electrically insulating layer enabling the fast nervous information transmission. It is mainly composed of a lipid-rich substance that surrounds the axon of some nerve cells.
CNS : Central Nervous System.
CSF : Cerebral Spinal Fluid.