Cell death pathways and autophagy in the central nervous system and its involvement in neurodegeneration, immunity and central nervous system infection: to die or not to die – that is the question


U.-C. Meier, Neuroimmunology Group, Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma, Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, Barts and The London, London E1 2AT, UK. E-mail: u.meier@qmul.ac.uk


Death rules our lives. In this short paper, we summarize new insights into molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Here we review the most important processes of cell death: apoptosis and oncosis. We focus on autophagy, which is pivotal for neuronal homeostasis, in the context of neurodegeneration, infection and immunity. Its dysfunction has been linked to several neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's diseases. Our understanding is still incomplete, but may highlight attractive new avenues for the development of treatment strategies to combat neurodegenerative diseases.