Neuroprotection: A Realistic Goal for Aged Brain?

  • Laura Calzà
  • Luciana Giardino
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 541)


Neuron survival during adult life is the end-product of a delicate balance between intrinsic properties of neurons and environmental factors. Intrinsic properties of a neuron derive from genetic background, but also from all stimuli that affect neurons through the life, from prenatal development till aging. In fact, being most of neurons perennial cells, this means that a neuron in an eighty-year old man is eighty year old. According to this, it accumulates age-related molecular alteration that are common in all cell types, such as slowing down of many metabolic processes, protein and membrane turnover, etc., to possible vascular pathologies compromising energy supply, to selective vulnerability of specific classes to unknown agents, that could include environmental pollutants, diet-derived factors, etc.1 Environmental factors also include systemic signals which can invade the central nervous system, such as hormones, cytokines, other molecules, and cells that can cross the blood-brain-barrier under normal conditions and during pathological events, and local signals acting in the chemical milieu surrounding neurons. Moreover, structure and function of old brain are the result of a balance between rather selective deficits and compensatory attempts of neural networks, which are developed over a long period of time. Thus, observation of old, normal or pathological brains, is not adequate for understanding biological events that can lead to neurodegeneration and, thus, to identify protective strategies.


Nitric Oxide Nerve Growth Factor Basal Forebrain Vestibular Nucleus Realistic Goal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Calzà
    • 1
  • Luciana Giardino
    • 1
  1. 1.DIMORFIPAUniversity of BolognaOzzano Emilia (Bologna)Italy

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