Inflammation is a process that is vital for defending the body against harm from things like infections, injuries, and toxins. When something damages our cells, they release tiny messenger proteins to alert the immune system that something is wrong.
Inflammation happens all over the body wherever a threat is detected and in the brain, the cells that respond to inflammation are called microglia.
Microglia make up 10–15% of all cells found within the brain and are its main line of defence. Under normal conditions, microglia sit around monitoring the environment for signs of trouble. There is evidence that early in neurodegenerative diseases these microglia can get stuck in an activated mode and that consequent neuroinflammation is a common feature and driver of diseases like Parkinson’s, Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.