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Review Article

Translocator Protein 18-kDa: A Promising Target to Treat Neuroinflammation- related Degenerative Diseases

[ Vol. 29 , Issue. 28 ]


Chiara Tremolanti, Lorenzo Germelli, Elisabetta Barresi, Eleonora Da Pozzo*, Francesca Simorini, Sabrina Castellano, Sabrina Taliani*, Federico Da Settimo, Claudia Martini and Barbara Costa   Pages 4831 - 4861 ( 31 )


In the nervous system, inflammatory responses physiologically occur as defense mechanisms triggered by damaging events. If improperly regulated, neuroinflammation can contribute to the development of chronically activated states of glial cells, with the perpetuation of inflammation and neuronal damage, thus leading to neurological and neurodegenerative disorders. Interestingly, neuroinflammation is associated with the overexpression of the mitochondrial translocator protein (TSPO) in activated glia. Despite the precise role of TSPO in the immunomodulatory mechanisms during active disease states is still unclear, it has emerged as a promising target to promote neuroprotection. Indeed, TSPO ligands have been shown to exert beneficial effects in counteracting neuroinflammation and neuronal damage in several in vitro and in vivo models of neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, the regulation of neurosteroids’ production, cytokine release, metabolism of radical oxidative species, and cellular bioenergetics appear to be the main cellular events that underlie the observed effects. The present review aims to illustrate and summarize recent findings on the potential effect of TSPO ligands against neuroinflammation and related neurodegenerative mechanisms, taking into consideration some pathologies of the nervous system in which inflammatory events are crucial for the onset and progression of the disease and attempting to shed light onto the immunomodulatory effects of TSPO.


Translocator protein 18kDa, TSPO, structure-activity relationship, selective ligands, neuroinflammation, microglia, astrocytes, neurons.


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