Cytokine expression and microglial activation in progressive supranuclear palsy

Rafael Fernández-Botrán, Zeshan Ahmed, Fabián A. Crespo, Chandler Gatenbee, John Gonzalez, Dennis W. Dickson, Irene Litvan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Although little is known about the etiology of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), genetic and epigenetic factors, oxidative injury and inflammation are thought to contribute to its development and/or progression. Evidence for activated glia involvement in PSP has raised the possibility that neuroinflammation may contribute to its pathogenesis. To investigate the correlation between neuroinflammation and PSP, a comparative study was conducted on the patterns of cytokine expression in different regions of the brains of PSP, Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and normal controls. Our results show different patterns of cytokine expression in each disease, with the expression of IL-1β transcripts being significantly higher in the substantia nigra of PSP than in AD and controls, while AD brains had significantly higher IL-1β expression in the parietal cortex compared to PSP and controls. In addition, expression of TGFβ was significantly higher in the cortical areas (particularly frontal and parietal lobes) of AD compared to PSP and controls. These results show a disease-specific topographical relationship among the expression of certain cytokines (IL-1β and TGFβ), microglial activation and neurodegenerative changes, suggesting that these cytokines may contribute to the pathologic process. If so, the use of cytokine-inhibitors and/or other anti-inflammatory agents may be able to slow disease progression in PSP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-688
Number of pages6
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Brain
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • Microglia
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cytokine expression and microglial activation in progressive supranuclear palsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this