Experimental Neurobiology 2019; 28(5): 547-553
Published online October 31, 2019
© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences
Somin Kwon, Michiyo Iba, Eliezer Masliah and Changyoun Kim*
Molecular Neuropathology Section, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
Correspondence to: *TEL: 1-301-451-2120, FAX: 1-301-451-7295
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License
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Synucleinopathies are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the progressive accumulation of α-synuclein (α-syn) in neurons and glia and include Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). In this review, we consolidate our key findings and recent studies concerning the role of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), a pattern recognition innate immune receptor, in the pathogenesis of synucleinopathies. First, we address the pathological interaction of α-syn with microglial TLR2 and its neurotoxic inflammatory effects. Then, we show that neuronal TLR2 activation not only induces abnormal α-syn accumulation by impairing autophagy, but also modulates α-syn transmission. Finally, we demonstrate that administration of a TLR2 functional inhibitor improves the neuropathology and behavioral deficits of a synucleinopathy mouse model. Altogether, we present TLR2 modulation as a promising immunotherapy for synucleinopathies.