Neurodegeneration is set to increase in parallel with societys age demographics. With the increasing appreciation of the role played by apoptosis in neurodegeneration, much effort has gone into understanding key effectors in this process and to develop therapies that reduce neuronal apoptosis, thus preserving the integrity of the CNS. In contrast to peripheral apoptosis, inflammation is commonly seen to co-localize with apoptotic sites in the CNS however investigators are unsure whether inflammation is the primary cause for neuronal apoptosis induction or whether it is secondary. This current review highlights the role of apoptosis in neurodegenerative diseases, examines the evidence as to whether inflammation is a causative or consequential event in neuronal apoptosis and describes some of the immunological approaches that are currently in the clinic or being developed.
Keywords: neurodegenerative diseases [nds], central nervous system [cns], inflammation, alzheimers disease, parkinsons disease, nsaids, amyloid precursor protein
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