Understanding The Role Of The Immune System In Neurodegenerative Diseases

the Immune System in Neurodegenerative Diseases


Neurodegenerative disorder is a condition that causes the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and spinal cord to gradually deteriorate and eventually die. Age, heredity, and injuries are just a few of the many variables that can cause neurodegenerative disorders, which are a leading cause of disability and, in some cases, death. Recent research has shown that these diseases can be influenced by the innate and adaptive immune system, although they are frequently believed to be caused by the buildup and dissemination of abnormal proteins. The phrase “neurodegenerative disease” covers a wide range of conditions including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Since the immune system plays a significant role in the development of many conditions, controlling how it is activated can help treat these disorders. Modulating the immune system might also be harmful, on the other hand. The immune system’s complex involvement is fascinating and may hold the key to developing new therapies.

What is Immunity?

Immunity is the body’s capacity to prevent and destroy pathogen invasion. Pathogens, which are unnatural agents that cause disease, are continuously present in the environment. Bacteria and viruses are a couple examples of these agents. Antigens that are connected to the surfaces of pathogens trigger an immune response. The body’s defense mechanism against antigens and for the body’s protection is the immunological response.

What are the different types of Immunity?

Innate immunity, passive immunity, and acquired/active immunity are a few among the different types of immunity.

  • A person is born with innate immunity, which includes physical barriers like skin and body hair, as well as defence systems like saliva and gastric acid (inflammation). Immunity of this kind is regarded as non-specific. 

The immune system can react fast to protect against any infection even when it is not aware of the precise type of antigen that is attacking the body.

  • The capability of the body to fight against micro-organisms by “borrowing” antibodies is known as passive immunity.

For instance, antibodies contained in breast milk can be passed to a baby, as can blood components containing antibodies, such as immunoglobulin, which can be transfused from one person to another.

  • Acquired (adaptive) immunity is one type of immunity that comes through immunological memory.

A particular antigen, which is associated with a pathogen, is presented to the body, which then produces antibodies against that particular antigen. 

The body has a memory of the particular antigen and has antibodies to drive it off the next time it invades. 

Acquired immunity can be brought on through vaccinations, infection exposure, or contracting a disease.

Many illnesses and disorders are defended against by an effective immune response. When the immune system is compromised, diseases can spread. Excessive, ineffective, or inappropriate immunological responses cause immune system diseases. Autoimmune illnesses, in which antibodies grow against the body’s tissues, can arise from an excessive immune response.

When a person has a neurodegenerative condition, the immune system attacks the nervous system, specifically the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves, where central nervous system cells stop functioning or start to die. These neurodegenerative diseases are incurable and often progressive. They could be inherited or brought on by a tumour or stroke. Those who are exposed to specific viruses or toxins can also develop neurodegenerative diseases. Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, etc are a few examples of neurodegenerative illnesses.


Neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis all involve complicated interactions between the immune system and their onset and development. Immune cells that are stimulated by these illnesses lead to inflammation, which can speed up the deterioration of the brain’s and spinal cord’s neurons. By removing harmful proteins and encouraging the healing of injured neurons, the immune system nevertheless also functions as a protective mechanism. For the creation of efficient treatments that can control immune function to slow or halt disease progression, it is essential to comprehend the delicate balance between the immune system’s protective and detrimental effects in neurodegenerative diseases. For more information on the control and management of these conditions consult our doctors at Altius Hospitals, one of the best multi-specialty hospitals in Bangalore.