Review Article

Role of pro-inflammatory cytokines released from microglia in Alzheimer’s disease

Wen-Ying Wang, Meng-Shan Tan, Jin-Tai Yu, Lan Tan


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder of the brain, which is characterized by the formation of extracellular amyloid plaques (or senile plaques) and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles. However, increasing evidences demonstrated that neuroinflammatory changes, including chronic microgliosis are key pathological components of AD. Microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, is constantly survey the microenvironment under physiological conditions. In AD, deposition of β-amyliod (Aβ) peptide initiates a spectrum of cerebral neuroinflammation mediated by activating microglia. Activated microglia may play a potentially detrimental role by eliciting the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) influencing the surrounding brain tissue. Emerging studies have demonstrated that up-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines play multiple roles in both neurodegeneration and neuroprotection. Understanding the pro-inflammatory cytokines signaling pathways involved in the regulation of AD is crucial to the development of strategies for therapy. This review will discuss the mechanisms and important role of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the pathogenesis of AD, and the ongoing drug targeting pro-inflammatory cytokine for therapeutic modulation.

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