The relationship between inflammation, impaired glymphatic system, and neurodegenerative disorders: A vicious cycle

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Neurobiology of disease


The term "glymphatic" emerged roughly a decade ago, marking a pivotal point in neuroscience research. The glymphatic system, a glial-dependent perivascular network distributed throughout the brain, has since become a focal point of investigation. There is increasing evidence suggesting that impairment of the glymphatic system appears to be a common feature of neurodegenerative disorders, and this impairment exacerbates as disease progression. Nevertheless, the common factors contributing to glymphatic system dysfunction across most neurodegenerative disorders remain unclear. Inflammation, however, is suspected to play a pivotal role. Dysfunction of the glymphatic system can lead to a significant accumulation of protein and waste products, which can trigger inflammation. The interaction between the glymphatic system and inflammation appears to be cyclical and potentially synergistic. Yet, current research is limited, and there is a lack of comprehensive models explaining this association. In this perspective review, we propose a novel model suggesting that inflammation, impaired glymphatic function, and neurodegenerative disorders interconnected in a vicious cycle. By presenting experimental evidence from the existing literature, we aim to demonstrate that: (1) inflammation aggravates glymphatic system dysfunction, (2) the impaired glymphatic system exacerbated neurodegenerative disorders progression, (3) neurodegenerative disorders progression promotes inflammation. Finally, the implication of proposed model is discussed.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Glymphatic System; Brain; Neurodegenerative Diseases; Aquaporin 4; Inflammation

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