Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease: Current evidence and future directions

Alzheimers Dement. 2016 Jun;12(6):719-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2016.02.010. Epub 2016 May 11.


Several attempts have been made to treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) using anti-amyloid strategies with disappointing results. It is clear that the "amyloid cascade hypothesis" alone cannot fully explain the neuronal damage in AD, as evidenced both by autopsy and imaging studies. Neuroinflammation plays a significant role in neurodegenerative diseases, whereas the debate is ongoing about its precise role, whether it is protective or harmful. In this review, we focus on the potential mechanism of glial activation and how local and systemic factors influence disease progression. We focus on neuroinflammation in AD, especially in the earliest stages, a vicious cycle of glial priming, release of pro-inflammatory factors, and neuronal damage. We review the evidence from imaging studies, regarding the temporal relationship between amyloid deposition and neuroinflammation, the influence of systemic inflammation on glial activation, both in acute and chronic stimulation and the relevance of inflammation as a diagnostic and therapeutic target.

Keywords: Alzheimer's; Microglia; Neurodegeneration; Neuroinflammation; PET; Systemic inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Encephalitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Encephalitis / etiology*
  • Encephalitis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging


  • Cytokines