Microglia-mediated neuroinflammation is a hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). In the brains of patients with PD, microglia have both neurotoxic and neuroprotective effects, depending on their activation state. In this review, we focus on recent research demonstrating the neuroprotective role of microglia in PD. Accumulating evidence indicates that the protective mechanisms of microglia may result from their regulation of transrepression pathways via nuclear receptors, anti-inflammatory responses, neuron-microglia crosstalk, histone modification, and microRNA regulation. All of these mechanisms work together to suppress the production of neurotoxic inflammatory components. However, during the progression of PD, the detrimental effects of inflammation overpower the protective actions of microglia. Therefore, an in-depth exploration of the mechanisms underlying microglial neuroprotection, and a means of promoting the transformation of microglia to the protective phenotype, are urgently needed for the treatment of PD.
Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; alternative activation; anti-inflammation; histone modification; microRNA; neuroinflammation; transrepression pathway.