Alzheimer 2013 July-11

Elusive Alzheimer’s disease: can immune signatures help our understanding of this challenging disease? Part 1: clinical and historical background.

Discov Med. 2013 Jan;15(80):23-32.

Fulop T, Lacombe G, Cunnane S, Le Page A, Dupuis G, Frost EH, Bourgade-Navarro K, Goldeck D, Larbi A, Pawelec G.

Research Center on Aging, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec J1H 4C4, Canada. tamas.fulop@usherbrooke.ca

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. Its most important pathological hallmarks are profound neuronal loss, presence of intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, and extracellular deposition of beta-amyloid protein (Aβ) as beta-amyloid plaques. These latter aggregations result in neuronal degeneration in brain regions important not only for memory, but also for other cognitive functions. One of the most important risk factors for AD is age and with the increase of life-expectancy AD has thus become the most common form of dementia. It is now formally recognized by several new diagnostic criteria that AD is not a homogeneous disease. The current “Holy Grail” is to be able to diagnose variants of AD before they manifest clinically and before irreparable brain damage is done. To achieve this goal, robust and reliable biomarkers that reflect the pathogenesis of AD have to be implemented. This is of paramount importance because such biomarkers may provide clues to pathways that can be targeted for interventions aimed at disease prevention or improvement. Although much attention has focused on Aβ as a major component of AD, Aβ may be a less attractive target since an increasing amount of data has raised concerns about its causative role in AD. This review will be in two parts, this first part will deal with the current clinical knowledge and the questions raised by the Aβ cascade hypothesis in the pathogenesis of AD and the second part will aim to synthesize our current knowledge and to discuss new data that suggest how immune alterations may contribute to the development of AD and may therefore provide beneficial targets in novel approaches for the treatment of AD.

PMID: 23375011

 

Elusive Alzheimer’s disease: can immune signatures help our understanding of this challenging disease? Part 2: new immune paradigm.

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. Its most important pathological hallmarks are profound neuronal loss, presence of intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, and extracellular deposition of beta-amyloid protein (Aβ) as beta-amyloid plaques. One of the most important risk factors for AD is age and with the increase of life-expectancy AD has become the most common form of dementia. The current “Holy Grail” is to be able to diagnose variants of AD before they manifest clinically and before irreparable brain damage is done. To be able to do so, we need robust and reliable biomarkers which reflect the pathogenesis of AD. This is essential because such biomarkers might indicate pathways that could be targeted for interventions aiming at disease prevention or amelioration. Although much attention has been focused on Aβ in this respect, it may not be as attractive a target as thought if current doubts concerning its causative role are substantiated. This review will be in two parts, the first part dealt with the current clinical knowledge and the questions raised by the Aβ cascade hypothesis in the pathogenesis of AD and this second part aims to synthesize our current knowledge and new data suggesting how immunity may contribute to the development of AD and may itself be targeted in future treatments.

PMID: 23375012

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