Chronic inflammation in the brain leads the way to Alzheimer's disease

July 2, 2012, BioMed Central

Research published today in Biomed Central's open access journal Journal of Neuroinflammation suggests that chronic inflammation can predispose the brain to develop Alzheimer's disease.

To date it has been difficult to pin down the role of inflammation in Alzheimer's disease (AD), especially because trials of NSAIDs appeared to have conflicting results. Although the ADAPT (The Alzheimer`s Disease Anti-inflammatory Prevention Trial) trial was stopped early, recent results suggest that NSAIDs can help people with early stages of AD but that prolonged treatment is necessary to see benefit.

Researchers from the University of Zurich, in collaboration with colleagues from the ETH Zurich and University of Bern investigated what impact immune system challenges (similar to having a severe viral infection) would have on the development of AD in mice. Results showed that a single infection before birth (during late gestation) was enough to induce long-term and significant memory problems at old age.

These mice had a persistent increase in , increased levels of amyloid (APP), and altered cellular localization of Tau. If this immune system challenge was repeated during adulthood the effect was strongly exacerbated, resulting in changes similar to those seen for pathological aging.

Dr Irene Knuesel who led this research explained, "The AD-like changes within the brain of these mice occurred without an increase in amyloid β (Aβ). However, in mice genetically modified to produce the human version of Aβ, the viral-like challenge drastically increased the amount of Aβ at precisely the sites of inflammation-induced APP deposits. Based on the similarity between these APP/A aggregates in mice and those found in human AD, it seems likely that due to infection could be an early event in the development of AD.

Explore further: Pathological aging brains contain the same amyloid plaques as Alzheimer's disease

More information: Systemic immune challenges trigger and drive Alzheimer-like neuropathology in mice, Dimitrije Krstic, Amrita Madhusudan, Jana Doehner, Prisca Vogel, Tina Notter, Claudine Imhof, Abigail Manalastas, Martina Hilfiker, Sandra Pfister, Cornelia Schwerdel, Carsten Riether, Urs Meyer and Irene Knuesel, Journal of Neuroinflammation (in press)

Related Stories

Pathological aging brains contain the same amyloid plaques as Alzheimer's disease

May 23, 2012
Pathological aging (PA) is used to describe the brains of people which have Alzheimer's disease (AD)-like pathology but where the person showed no signs of cognitive impairment whilst they were alive. New research, published ...

Scientists study link between amyloid beta peptide levels and Alzheimer's disease

March 20, 2012
The effects of the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) has been found to elevate amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide levels in the brain, leading to short-term deficits in learning.

Overlooked peptide reveals clues to causes of Alzheimer's disease

July 3, 2011
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI) and their collaborators have shed light on the function of a little-studied amyloid peptide in promoting Alzheimer's disease (AD). Their surprising findings reveal that ...

Characterizing a toxic offender

December 9, 2011
The brains of individuals with Alzheimer's disease contain protein aggregates called plaques and tangles, which interfere with normal communication between nerve cells and cause progressive learning and memory deficits. Now, ...

Recommended for you

Rocky start for Alzheimer's drug research in 2018

January 19, 2018
The year 2018, barely underway, has already dealt a series of disheartening blows to the quest for an Alzheimer's cure.

Alzheimer's disease: Neuronal loss very limited

January 17, 2018
Frequently encountered in the elderly, Alzheimer's is considered a neurodegenerative disease, which means that it is accompanied by a significant, progressive loss of neurons and their nerve endings, or synapses. A joint ...

Anxiety: An early indicator of Alzheimer's disease?

January 12, 2018
A new study suggests an association between elevated amyloid beta levels and the worsening of anxiety symptoms. The findings support the hypothesis that neuropsychiatric symptoms could represent the early manifestation of ...

One of the most promising drugs for Alzheimer's disease fails in clinical trials

January 11, 2018
To the roughly 400 clinical trials that have tested some experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease and come up short, we can now add three more.

Different disease types associated with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains found in Alzheimer's patients

January 9, 2018
An international team of researchers has found different disease type associations with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains in the brains of dead Alzheimer's patients. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National ...

Advances in brain imaging settle debate over spread of key protein in Alzheimer's

January 5, 2018
Recent advances in brain imaging have enabled scientists to show for the first time that a key protein which causes nerve cell death spreads throughout the brain in Alzheimer's disease - and hence that blocking its spread ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.