The interest of scientists in the involvement of inflammation-related mechanisms in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) goes back to the work of one of the pioneers of the study of this disease. About hundred years ago Oskar Fischer stated that the crucial step in the plaque formation is the extracellular deposition of a foreign substance that provokes an inflammatory reaction followed by a regenerative response of the surrounding nerve fibers. Eighty years later immunohistochemical studies revealed that amyloid plaques are indeed co-localized with a broad variety of inflammation-related proteins (complement factors, acute-phase proteins, pro-inflammatory cytokines) and clusters of activated microglia. These findings have led to the view that the amyloid plaque is the nidus of a non-immune mediated chronic inflammatory response locally induced by fibrillar A beta deposits. Recent neuropathological studies show a close relationship between fibrillar A beta deposits, inflammation and neuroregeneration in relatively early stages of AD pathology preceding late AD stages characterized by extensive tau-related neurofibrillary changes. In the present work we will review the role of inflammation in the early stage of AD pathology and particularly the role of inflammation in A beta metabolism and deposition. We also discuss the possibilities of inflammation-based therapeutic strategies in AD.
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