Alpha-synuclein as a prominent actor in the inflammatory synaptopathy of parkinson’s disease

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is considered the most common disorder of synucleinopathy, which is characterised by intracellular inclusions of aggregated and misfolded α-synuclein (α-syn) protein in various brain regions, and the loss of dopaminergic neurons. During the early prodromal phase of PD, synaptic alterations happen before cell death, which is linked to the synaptic accumulation of toxic α-syn specifically in the presynaptic terminals, affecting neurotransmitter release. The oligomers and protofibrils of α-syn are the most toxic species, and their overexpression impairs the distribution and activation of synaptic proteins, such as the SNARE complex, preventing neurotransmitter exocytosis and neuronal synaptic communication. In the last few years, the role of the immune system in PD has been increasingly considered. Microglial and astrocyte activation, the gene expression of proinflammatory factors, and the infiltration of immune cells from the periphery to the central nervous system (CNS) represent the main features of the inflammatory response. One of the actors of these processes is α-syn accumulation. In light of this, here, we provide a systematic review of PD-related α-syn and inflammation inter-players.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6517
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2 2021


  • Dopamine
  • Immune system
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Synaptopathy
  • α-synuclein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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