The role of glia in Parkinson's disease: Emerging concepts and therapeutic applications

Katarzyna Z. Kuter, M. Angela Cenci, Anna R. Carta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)


Originally believed to primarily affect neurons, Parkinson's disease (PD) has recently been recognized to also affect the functions and integrity of microglia and astroglia, two cell categories of fundamental importance to brain tissue homeostasis, defense, and repair. Both a loss of glial supportive-defensive functions and a toxic gain of glial functions are implicated in the neurodegenerative process. Moreover, the chronic treatment with L-DOPA may cause maladaptive glial plasticity favoring a development of therapy complications. This chapter focuses on the pathophysiology of PD from a glial point of view, presenting this rapidly growing field from the first discoveries made to the most recent developments. We report and compare histopathological and molecular findings from experimental models of PD and human studies. We moreover discuss the important role played by astrocytes in compensatory adaptations taking place during presymptomatic disease stages. We finally describe examples of potential therapeutic applications stemming from an increased understanding of the important roles of glia in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRecent Advances in Parkinson's Disease
EditorsAnders Björklund, M. Angela Cenci
PublisherElsevier Science Publishers B.V.
Number of pages38
ISBN (Print)9780444642608
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123
ISSN (Electronic)1875-7855

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Neurosciences


  • Astrocytes
  • Compensation
  • Dyskinesia
  • Energy metabolism
  • Grafting
  • Inflammation
  • Levodopa
  • Microglia
  • Pharmacology
  • α-Synuclein


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