A conceptual model of a neurodegenerative disease


Just another simplistic visualisation to show the complexity of interactions in neurodegenerative diseases.
The width of the components doesn’t signify importance/quantity¬†¬†

  • The exposome represents the sum of all environmental factors a human is exposed to during his or her lifetime such as pathogens, toxins, lifestyle events and habits, possibly triggering a mutation in our genes, upregulation or downregulation of the production of certain proteins, more direct changes in gut microbiota, etc.
  • Genes signifies the genes associated with an increased risk of contracting a neurodegenerative disease (ND) (E.g. mutations in the GBA, SNCA and LLRK2 genes increase one’s risks of developing Parkinson’s).
  • Biomarkers represent the substances – such as proteins, microbiota, reactive oxygen species (ROS), inflammatory markers, etc. – we can measure and count in bodily fluids (sweat, stool, urine, blood, CSF) and which give us hints about ongoing processes and failing mechanisms.
  • Failing mechanisms represent all mechanisms which may go awry in ND, such as faltering cell homeostasis, problems to remove waste from cells, crystallisation of proteins and loss of their natural function, gut dysbiosis leading to permeability of the intestinal barrier, failing production/reuptake of neurotransmitters,¬† etc.
  • Failing cells concern the cells/organelles which get damaged during ND, such as lysosomes, mytochondria, microglia, neurons, nerve cells, etc.
  • Failing functions signifies the symptoms which are associated with a diagnosis of ND’s such as movement disorders, problems with cognition, sleep, mood, urinary retention, constipation, etc.