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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 214714, 16 pages
Research Article

Inflammatory Pathways in Parkinson’s Disease; A BNE Microarray Study

1Centre for Neuroscience, Division of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK
2Neurochemistry Laboratory, National Parkinson Foundation Centre of Excellence Research Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Würzburg, D-98070 Würzburg, Germany
3Neurobiochemistry Laboratory, Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Zürich, CH-8050 Zürich, Switzerland
4Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, University of Würzburg, D-97080 Würzburg, Germany

Received 27 November 2011; Accepted 4 January 2012

Academic Editor: Carlos Barcia

Copyright © 2012 Pascal. F. Durrenberger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aetiology of Parkinson's disease (PD) is yet to be fully understood but it is becoming more and more evident that neuronal cell death may be multifactorial in essence. The main focus of PD research is to better understand substantia nigra homeostasis disruption, particularly in relation to the wide-spread deposition of the aberrant protein α-synuclein. Microarray technology contributed towards PD research with several studies to date and one gene, ALDH1A1 (Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 family, member A1), consistently reappeared across studies including the present study, highlighting dopamine (DA) metabolism dysfunction resulting in oxidative stress and most probably leading to neuronal cell death. Neuronal cell death leads to increased inflammation through the activation of astrocytes and microglia. Using our dataset, we aimed to isolate some of these pathways so to offer potential novel neuroprotective therapeutic avenues. To that effect our study has focused on the upregulation of P2X7 (purinergic receptor P2X, ligand-gated ion channel, 7) receptor pathway (microglial activation) and on the NOS3 (nitric oxide synthase 3) pathway (angiogenesis). In summary, although the exact initiator of striatal DA neuronal cell death remains to be determined, based on our analysis, this event does not remain without consequence. Extracellular ATP and reactive astrocytes appear to be responsible for the activation of microglia which in turn release proinflammatory cytokines contributing further to the parkinsonian condition. In addition to tackling oxidative stress pathways we also suggest to reduce microglial and endothelial activation to support neuronal outgrowth.