Neurodegeneration is the general term for the progressive loss of function and integrity of neuronal networks, including death of neurons associated with neuroinflammatory processes. Neurodegeneration can be found in many different levels of neuronal circuitry ranging from molecular to systemic. Many neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s occur as a result of specific disease processes destabilizing neuronal network integrity that have been associated to accumulation of misfolded proteins or peptides. Many similarities appear in the progression of these diseases on a cellular and molecular level. These biochemical insults to neurons are mimicked in our neurodegenerative disease models. There are many parallels between different neurodegenerative disorders including protein misfolding and aggregation, oxidative stress, and overstimulation by excitatory neurotransmitters. As research progresses, the presence of soluble and diffusible oligomeric structures may relate these diseases to one another on a molecular and sub-cellular level.
Discovering these similarities offers hope for therapeutic advances that could ameliorate many diseases simultaneously.
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