Microglia at the interface of chronic neurodegeneration and systemic inflammation – Colm Cunningham, Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin.

March 1, 2021 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

It is now clear that neuroinflammation is an important feature of chronic neurodegenerative disease. However it has also emerged that inflammation arising outside the brain exacerbates neuroninflammation and can contribute to cognitive and functional decline. In this talk I will discuss some recent work on the role of the pattern recognition receptor STING and type I interferons in the progression of neurodegeneration. I will also present new data on the role of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the maintenance and restoration of the microglial homeostatic state. This loss of acetylcholinergic tone, just like evolving amyloidosis or progressive synaptic loss in models of prion disease and Alzheimer’s disease, results in the development of a ‘primed’ state of microglial activation. This leaves these cells vulnerable to secondary systemic inflammatory stimuli, which can trigger amplified IL-1beta and contribute to new neuronal dysfunction and injury.

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