Remote Neurodegeneration: Multiple Actors for One Play

Maria Teresa Viscomi, Marco Molinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Remote neurodegeneration significantly influences the clinical outcome in many central nervous system (CNS) pathologies, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. Because these processes develop days or months after injury, they are accompanied by a therapeutic window of opportunity. The complexity and clinical significance of remote damage is prompting many groups to examine the factors of remote degeneration. This research is providing insights into key unanswered questions, opening new avenues for innovative neuroprotective therapies. In this review, we evaluate data from various remote degeneration models to describe the complexity of the systems that are involved and the importance of their interactions in reducing damage and promoting recovery after brain lesions. Specifically, we recapitulate the current data on remote neuronal degeneration, focusing on molecular and cellular events, as studied in stroke and brain and spinal cord injury models. Remote damage is a multifactorial phenomenon in which many components become active in specific time frames. Days, weeks, or months after injury onset, the interplay between key effectors differentially affects neuronal survival and functional outcomes. In particular, we discuss apoptosis, inflammation, oxidative damage, and autophagy—all of which mediate remote degeneration at specific times. We also review current findings on the pharmacological manipulation of remote degeneration mechanisms in reducing damage and sustaining outcomes. These novel treatments differ from those that have been proposed to limit primary lesion site damage, representing new perspectives on neuroprotection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-389
Number of pages22
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2014


  • Apoptosis
  • Endocannabinoid system
  • Inflammation
  • Nitrergic system
  • Remote damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)


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