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Brain Inflammation in Alzheimer Disease and the Therapeutic Implications.

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Immunohistochemical studies suggested the existence of a chronic inflammatory condition in affected regions of the brain in Alzheimer disease (AD). Since inflammation can be damaging to host tissue, it was hypothesized that antiinflammatory drugs might inhibit both the onset and the progression of AD.

This hypothesis is supported by a number of epidemiological studies suggesting that the prevalence of AD in persons is reduced by 40 – 50% in persons using antiinflammatory drugs. In one small pilot trial in early AD, the nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug indomethacin appeared to halt the progressive memory loss. Immunohistochemical and molecular biological studies on immune system components in AD brain are revealing the complexities of the innate immune reaction.

This very complexity may offer points of therapeutic intervention for new types of antiinflammatory agents. The complement system, microglia and cytokines are key components. This review summarizes the present state of knowledge on the immune system elements found in AD brain.

Source: Curr Pharm Des 1999 Oct 1;5(10):821-836

PMID: 10526088

(Kinsmen Laboratory of Neurological Research, University of British Columbia, 2255 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z3, Canada.)

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