Neuroinflammation and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease: Connecting Neuroimaging with Pathophysiology
There is a pressing need for disease-modifying therapies in patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, these disorders face unique challenges in clinical trial designs to assess the neuroprotective properties of potential drug candidates. One of these challenges relates to the often unknown individual disease mechanisms that would, however, be relevant for targeted treatment strategies. Neuroinflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction are two proposed pathophysiological hallmarks and are considered to be highly interconnected in PD. Innovative neuroimaging methods can potentially help to gain deeper insights into one’s predominant disease mechanisms, can facilitate patient stratification in clinical trials, and could potentially map treatment responses. This review aims to highlight the role of neuroinflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction in patients with PD (PwPD). We will specifically introduce different neuroimaging modalities, their respective technical hurdles and challenges, and their implementation into clinical practice. We will gather preliminary evidence for their potential use in PD research and discuss opportunities for future clinical trials.