Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by akinesia, rigidity, tremor at rest and postural abnormalities, as well as other symptoms involving the central and the autonomic nervous system. PD affects up to 300 patients per 100 000 inhabitants with a higher prevalence in males. The neuropathological features of PD include a severe neuronal loss in the dopamine-rich substantia nigra and other monoamine rich brain stem nuclei, and a severe loss of striatal levels of dopamine and its metabolites. The vast majority of patients with PD show intraneuronal inclusion bodies immunoreactive to α-synuclein in their nigrostriatal dopamine cells, as well as in neurons of other nuclei from the central and autonomic nervous system.

The treatment of PD is one of the greatest successes in the history of medicine, since in the last half century a large number of pharmaceutical compounds, and surgical intervention, have completely changed the prognosis of this disease. These treatments have returned patients with PD to a normal life expectancy and allow for a good quality of life for many years after diagnosis. The treatments available, however, do not stop the progression of the disease and most patients surviving for long periods of time after the initiation of therapy develop complications such as fluctuations, dyskinesias, disturbances related to lack of control of impulses and several types of cognitive deterioration.

Neuroprotection in PD is difficult since this disease involves multiple different pathogenic mechanisms interacting with the patient's own process of aging. Mendelian genetic mechanisms causing PD include more than 16 canonical gene defects plus an increasing number of genetic risk factors. These molecular abnormalities responsible for PD include abnormalities of neurotransmitter metabolism, excessive free radicals, abnormal mitochondrial function, excessive accumulation of denatured proteins, abnormalities of kinases and others. Strategies for neuroprotection need to take into consideration the enormous variety of pathogenic mechanisms, and the need to design specific therapies for the specific molecular defects present in each case.

You do not currently have access to this chapter, but see below options to check access via your institution or sign in to purchase.
Don't already have an account? Register
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal