Systemic infections and inflammation affect chronic neurodegeneration

Nat Rev Immunol. 2007 Feb;7(2):161-7. doi: 10.1038/nri2015. Epub 2007 Jan 15.


It is well known that systemic infections cause flare-ups of disease in individuals with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, and that relapses in multiple sclerosis can often be associated with upper respiratory-tract infections. Here we review evidence to support our hypothesis that in chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, with an ongoing innate immune response in the brain, systemic infections and inflammation can cause acute exacerbations of symptoms and drive the progression of neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology
  • Animals
  • Brain / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Microglia / immunology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / immunology*