About this Research Topic
Non-neuronal cells have been proposed as key modulators of neuronal network function in health and in neurological disease. Until recently, the involvement of glial cells in neurodegenerative diseases, including astrocytes, microglial cells, oligodendrocytes, their progenitors and infiltrating immune cells, has been merely viewed as a secondary adaptive response to disease-specific neuronal pathology. It emerges that glial and other non-neuronal cells can also be primarily affected by neurodegenerative cues, imposing a direct impact on neurons. This has highlighted new potential avenues in targeting disease pathways in a broad spectrum of neurodegenerative conditions, which would require teasing apart primary from secondary pathological processes in multiple cell types.
The discovery process relevant to human pathobiology had been somewhat limited by the lack of suitable disease models and cell type-specific approaches for precise molecular analysis. The recent development of human patient-specific stem cell- or organoid-based disease models and single cell- or cell type-based analyses of the transcriptome, translatome and proteome allow an unprecedented opportunity for elucidating the spatiotemporal pathological sequences. These platforms now help to capture the initiating steps of disease causing mechanisms, and accelerate the discovery of novel targets for the treatment of various neurodegenerative conditions. Although further characterization and the combined use of novel human disease platforms with animal models remain necessary, this approach is opening opportunities for transforming translational science, including the development of personalized medicine.
The collection of articles in this Research Topic will represent the dynamic development of disease models that has facilitated discoveries of novel glial or other non-neuronal pathologies, advances in experimental treatments and clinical trials targeting glial and immune cell pathways in neurodegenerative diseases. The disorders we would like to mainly focus on include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), Huntington’s disease (HD) and other disorders characterized by neurodegeneration, such as glaucoma. We would be interested in receiving manuscripts incorporating basic or translational Original Research, Mini-Reviews and Reviews, which aim at covering the novel and rapidly developing aspects of the field.
Keywords: Glia, Stem cells, Neurodegeneration, Human disease models, translational neuroscience
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