Chronic stress as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease

Rev Neurosci. 2014;25(6):785-804. doi: 10.1515/revneuro-2014-0035.


This review aims to point out that chronic stress is able to accelerate the appearance of Alzheimer's disease (AD), proposing the former as a risk factor for the latter. Firstly, in the introduction we describe some human epidemiological studies pointing out the possibility that chronic stress could increase the incidence, or the rate of appearance of AD. Afterwards, we try to justify these epidemiological results with some experimental data. We have reviewed the experiments studying the effect of various stressors on different features in AD animal models. Moreover, we also point out the data obtained on the effect of chronic stress on some processes that are known to be involved in AD, such as inflammation and glucose metabolism. Later, we relate some of the processes known to be involved in aging and AD, such as accumulation of β-amyloid, TAU hyperphosphorylation, oxidative stress and impairement of mitochondrial function, emphasizing how they are affected by chronic stress/glucocorticoids and comparing with the description made for these processes in AD. All these data support the idea that chronic stress could be considered a risk factor for AD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / immunology*
  • Alzheimer Disease* / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease* / immunology
  • Alzheimer Disease* / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Neuroimmunomodulation / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological* / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological* / immunology
  • Stress, Psychological* / physiopathology