Neuroinflammation is linked to healthy ageing, but its role in the development of age-related neurodegenerative diseases is unclear. In this pilot study we used a multiplex assay approach to compare 27 cytokines in 6 young adult and 6 ageing control brainstems with those in 6 MND brainstems. We report that healthy ageing is associated with significantly increased brainstem levels of IL-1β, IP-10 and MIP-1β which co-localise immunocytochemically to astrocytes. MND brainstem is also characterised by a general increase in both pro- and anti-cytokine levels, but fails to show the expected age-related increase in MIP-1β and IP-10. This pilot study is the first to show that MND is associated with a failure of specific features of the normal age-related neuroinflammatory process. We suggest that our pilot data indicates that neuroinflammation during healthy ageing may not always be detrimental to motoneuronal survival and that age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as MND, may instead result from defective neuroinflammation.
- Motor Neurone Disease