Inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway protects against α-synuclein-induced neuroinflammation and dopaminergic neurodegeneration

Academic Article


  • Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is an age-related, chronic neurodegenerative disorder. At present, there are no disease-modifying therapies to prevent PD progression. Activated microglia and neuroinflammation are associated with the pathogenesis and progression of PD. Accumulation of α-synuclein (α-SYN) in the brain is a core feature of PD and leads to microglial activation, inflammatory cytokine/ chemokine production, and ultimately to neurodegeneration. Given the importance of the JAK/STAT pathway in activating microglia and inducing cytokine/chemokine expression,weinvestigated the therapeutic potential of inhibiting the JAK/STAT pathway using the JAK1/2 inhibitor, AZD1480. In vitro, α-SYN exposure activated the JAK/STAT pathway in microglia and macrophages, and treatment with AZD1480 inhibited α-SYN-induced major histocompatibility complex Class II and inflammatory gene expression in microglia and macrophages by reducing STAT1 and STAT3 activation. For in vivo studies, we used a rat model of PD induced by viral overexpression of α-SYN. AZD1480 treatment inhibitedα-SYN-induced neuroinflammation by suppressing microglial activation, macrophage and CD4+ T-cell infiltration and production of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines. Numerous genes involved in cell– cell signaling, nervous system development and function, inflammatory diseases/processes, and neurological diseases are enhanced in the substantia nigra of rats with α-SYN overexpression, and inhibited upon treatment with AZD1480. Importantly, inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway prevented the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in vivo. These results indicate that inhibiting the JAK/STAT pathway can prevent neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration by suppressing activation of innate and adaptiveimmuneresponses toα-SYN. Furthermore, this suggests the feasibility of targeting the JAK/STAT pathway as a neuroprotective therapy for neurodegenerative diseases.
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    Author List

  • Qin H; Buckley JA; Li X; Liu Y; Fox TH; Meares GP; Yu H; Yan Z; Harms AS; Li Y
  • Start Page

  • 5144
  • End Page

  • 5159
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 18