[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction:
Inflammation has a vital task in protecting the organism, but when deregulated, it can have serious pathological consequences. The central nervous system (CNS) is capable of mounting immune and inflammatory responses, albeit different from that observed in the periphery. Neuroinflammation, however, can be a major contributor to neurodegenerative diseases and constitute a major challenge for medicine and basic research.
Both innate and adaptive immune responses normally play an important role in homeostasis within the CNS. Microglia, astrocytes and neuronal cells express a wide array of toll-like receptors (TLR) that can be upregulated by infection, trauma, injuries and various exogenic or endogenic factors. Chronic hyper activation of brain immune cells can result in neurotoxic actions due to excessive production of several pro-inflammatory mediators. Several studies have recently described an important role for targeting receptors such as nicotinic receptors located on cells in the CNS or in other tissues for the control of inflammation.
Thymulin and its synthetic peptide analogue (PAT) appear to exert potent anti-inflammatory effects at the level of peripheral tissues as well as at the level of the brain. This effect involves, at least partially, the activation of cholinergic mechanisms.